Tourism

Flavour of the Week: Accor’s Simon McGrath honoured by Queen, Village Roadshow’s new CEO + more

This update on all the industry’s latest movers and shakers can best be described as a fruit salad, in that it has a bit of everything.

Accor’s Simon McGrath named in Queen’s Birthday Honours List

Simon McGrath (pictured above), chief operating officer for Accor across the Pacific, has been named in this year’s Queen’s Birthday Honours List as a Member of the Order of Australia (AM).

The prestigious honour is given to only 365 recipients each year, with McGrath chosen for his outstanding service to the tourism and hospitality industry.

As the head of Accor’s operations in the Pacific, McGrath oversees a network of over 390 hotels across Australia, New Zealand, Fiji and French Polynesia.

He is also deputy chairman of the Tourism Transport Forum, as well as a director of the Accommodation Association of Australia, Accor Vacation Club and the Reef Casino Trust.

McGrath is particularly passionate about promoting Indigenous tourism, with Accor employing over 650 Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander staff across the group.

Michael Issenberg, chairman and CEO of Accor across the Asia Pacific, said: “I am incredibly proud to see Simon McGrath recognised amongst such esteemed company in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List.

“Simon not only drives the performance of our hotels in Australia, but more importantly, is personally invested in raising the profile of tourism as an important sector in the Australian economy and providing employment for tens of thousands of people.

“In addition, he is a true advocate for Indigenous communities and is passionate about providing meaningful opportunities for our indigenous staff.

“This honour is recognition of his hard work over more than 30 years in advancing tourism in Australia.”

 

Village Roadshow appoints new CEO

Theme park and cinema giant Village Roadshow has announced the appointment of Clark Kirby as its new CEO.

Kirby will succeed Graham Burke, who is retiring, on 1 January 2020.

In addition to his role as CEO of Village Roadshow, Kirby will remain the boss of the company’s largest division, Village Roadshow Theme Parks, and continue to be based in Queensland.

Clark Kirby
Clark Kirby

Burke said he was delighted to have Kirby as his successor.

“I have mentored him for many years and watched him grow into an exceptional executive, as evidenced by his successful management of the turnaround of Village Roadshow Theme Parks,” Burke said.

“I look forward to seeing him take Village Roadshow into a great future.”

Commenting on his appointment, Kirby said: “Village Roadshow is an iconic Australian entertainment company, and I am thrilled to be appointed CEO from 2020.

“I look forward to working with the board to execute its strategy for VRL and drive shareholder value.”

Village Roadshow also announced it would appoint an independent non-executive chair, with current executive chairman Robert Kirby to step down from the role and remain on the board as an executive director once the appointment is made.

 

DriveAway appoints Charlie Youssef as GM

Charlie Youssef
Charlie Youssef

DriveAway has announced the appointment of Charlie Youssef as general manager, following the company’s acquisition of rival globalCARS.com.au.

Youssef will be second in charge to DriveAway managing director Chris Hamill, with specific responsibilities for IT and digital marketing.

DriveAway’s previous GM, Michelle Carpio, has moved into a newly created role as head of people and culture.

Hamill said: “I am delighted to see Charlie step into this new role. Charlie brings with him a solid understanding of the technical elements of our business, as well as a real understanding of quality service, which will only benefit our travel agent partners in the future.”

Commenting on his new role, Youssef said: “I’m looking forward to stepping into the role of general manager at such an exciting time for DriveAway, working with our team and strategic partners to drive further growth through a focus on technological improvements and enhancing our digital presence, whilst maintaining our exceptional customer service.”

 

Silversea adds another expedition expert

Silversea Cruises has announced the addition of yet another expedition expert to bolster its team.

Bringing extensive knowledge and experience garnered over many years in the expedition industry, Bill Davis has joined Silversea in the role of vice president of expedition operations and development.

Based in Miami, Davis will oversee Silversea’s expanding expedition destination operations, assisting with the development of new programs, and managing the cruise line’s expedition field staff.

Bill Davis
Bill Davis

He will also oversee the Silversea Expedition Academy, which recruits and trains top industry talent to enable guests to travel deeper into destinations from pole to pole.

Commenting on his appointment, Davis said: “I am delighted to have joined the team at Silversea Cruises at this exciting time.

“With destination expertise that is unparalleled in the industry, the cruise line’s expedition team is enabling guests to really explore the authentic beauty of the world in depth, sharing local knowledge and expertise accrued over many years.

“I am excited to further enhance Silversea’s offering for guests, with more immersive experiences in spectacular destinations.”

 

Scenic appoints new exec chef in Vietnam

Oka Wibawa
Oka Wibawa

Scenic has announced the appointment of Oka Wibawa as executive chef onboard Scenic Spirit, cruising the Mekong River in Vietnam.

Phil Jordan, general manager of Asia at Scenic, said Wibawa has been a long-term member of the Scenic team in Vietnam, and his new role is a reflection of both his skill and commitment to the delivery of excellence onboard Scenic Spirit.

“Oka began his journey with Scenic in 2014 on Scenic Jasper in Europe as a Chef De Partie,” Jordan said.

“There, he displayed strong skills and a passion for food and cooking, combined with a personality that saw him quickly become both a staff and guest favourite.

“In 2016 with the launch of Scenic Spirt on the mighty Mekong River, Oka was an immediate appointment as junior sous chef, and over those years has consistently performed across all aspects of his work and risen to his new executive chef role.

Jordan said Wibawa’s passion lies in creating new recipes and combining the abundance of fresh regional produce with aged old techniques and creative plating.

“His mantra is reflective of his youth and revolves around passion, simplicity, being proud of your work, and never stopping the journey of culinary knowledge,” he said.

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