Explora Journeys appoints new senior leadership
Explora Journeys, the luxury lifestyle travel brand of the Cruise Division of MSC Group, has announced the expansion of its executive leadership team with the appointment of Norbert Stiekema as Chief Commercial Officer (CCO) and of Vanessa Vollmann as Head of People. Both positions will report directly to Michael Ungerer, CEO Explora Journeys, and be based in the luxury brand`s headquarters in Geneva.
Michael Ungerer, Chief Executive Officer, Explora Journeys said: “As we gear up for the launch of our first vessel, Explora I, later this year and the subsequent launch of our entire fleet of six vessels in a five-year window, we need the best team to allow our brand to reach to achieve its true potential in the luxury cruise segment. This is why I am so pleased to have two supremely experienced professionals – Norbert and Vanessa – with their extensive experience in hospitality and travel and in high-end luxury consumer goods joining our leadership team at this juncture in our journey. They have joined at the start of an organic growth trajectory the likes of which has never been seen before in our segment.”
As CCO, Norbert Stiekema will be responsible for all business-related aspects of the brand and will support the launch of the operations of EXPLORA I bringing considerable commercial experience with successful travel and hospitality brands. Norbert boasts more than 30 years of experience, working across a range of leadership roles head-quartered across Europe, and most recently the Middle East where he worked for Cruise Saudi as its Chief Sales & Marketing Officer. Previously he was employed for eight years at Costa Cruises as Chief Digital and Strategy Officer and prior to that, EVP Sales and Marketing. Before then, he spent seven years in France at The Walt Disney Company as VP Sales and Distribution EMEA having joined the organisation after more than thirteen years with the Dutch national airline, KLM.
Vanessa Vollmann, Head of People, will be responsible for all Human Resources-related topics at the brand`s headquarters in Geneva and will also be working across all key markets on HR-related topics for all shoreside employees of the brand. Vanessa previously held senior HR roles for a range of well-known luxury brands, most recently for Roger Dubuis within the Richemont Group where she was International HR Manager. Prior, she was HR Business Partner for Commercial Functions and Subsidiaries at TAG Heuer and worked in various HR roles both for Coty and Procter & Gamble.
EXPLORA I, the first of a planned fleet of six luxury ships, is currently being built by Fincantieri in Monfalcone, Italy, and will depart for her maiden journey on 17th July, 2023 from Southampton, UK.
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