Travel Agents

CONFIRMED: Darren Rudd to take over as AFTA’s chief executive

The Australian Federation of Travel Agents (AFTA) has confirmed the appointment of Darren Rudd as its new CEO.

The confirmation comes following a report by The Australian Financial Review late yesterday naming Rudd as the successor to Jayson Westbury, who recently resigned from the top role at AFTA following his comments about TV host Tracy Grimshaw during an online seminar.

Rudd is currently the head of corporate affairs and public relations at Tata Consultancy Services across Australia and New Zealand, which counts the likes of Qantas, Telstra, CBA, Westpac, Vodafone, and KPMG among its local clientele.

He is currently a board member of the Australian Council for the Arts, and is on the advisory boards of Asia Society Australia and Australia India Youth Dialogue.

Rudd was previously the lead corporate affairs manager for NBN Co Limited, and has also held senior roles at telecommunications companies AT&T and Alcatel-Lucent.

And, in case you were wondering, Rudd is not related to the former Australian Prime Minister of the same surname, according to the AFR.

AFTA chair tom Manwaring said Rudd was selected following a rigorous executive recruitment process.

“Darren is an outstanding choice, with a wealth of experience across business and stakeholder management,” Manwaring said.

“The skills and networks he brings to the role will be invaluable as we navigate the new and emerging industry landscape.”

“Darren’s track record in successfully mapping and implementing campaigns that deliver results, his commitment to harnessing the immense power of our AFTA members through targeted grassroots activation, and his ability to identify and convert opportunities into real advantage were instrumental in him being selected for the role.

“The AFTA team, family and board are excited to welcome him aboard.”

Commenting on his appointment, Rudd said: “It is an honour to join AFTA at this critical time. I look forward to working with members, the board and industry stakeholders as we work our way through the current economic difficulties and the challenges that lie ahead.

“The future is very different to that which we imagined six months ago, yet travel and tourism remain cornerstones of the Australian economy.

“It is important that governments and regulators understand that getting the policy and regulatory settings right will not only help the sector, but contribute substantially to the nation’s overall economic wellbeing.”

Rudd will commence his role at AFTA on Monday.

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