MSC Cruises has announced five senior appointments for its much-anticipated luxury brand, including Chris Austin, the former Seabourn senior vice president.
The team will be led by CEO Michael Ungerer, who said: “The leaders of the new brand bring more than 100 years of combined knowledge and expertise in the luxury, hospitality and cruise sectors. Together they will create a luxury and lifestyle travel experience as distinct as it is trailblazing, exceeding the expectations of both discerning cruisers seeking something different, those new to cruising and nextgenlux travellers curious to start.”
MSC’s luxury brand will deliver its first vessel in 2023 from the Fincantieri shipyard in Italy, with subsequent deliveries in 2024, 2025 and 2026. The first ship will have a gross tonnage of 63,900 GT and feature 461 balcony or terrace suites.
The people and roles are:
Chris Austin, Chief Sales Officer
Chris was most recently SVP Global Sales and Marketing for four years at Seabourn Cruise Line where in 2019 he received the accolade of ‘Cruise Ambassador of the Year’ from the global luxury travel agency network, Virtuoso. He previously worked for almost 20 years leading sales for the luxury brand portfolio at Starwood Hotels & Resorts.
Sarah Doyle, Chief Marketing Officer
Most recently Vice President Marketing at Bacardi Limited Europe, Sarah previously spent six years at Starwood Hotels & Resorts, initially responsible for brand partnerships across the luxury brand portfolio, then as Global Brand Director for W Hotels Worldwide where she opened six global properties. Prior to her career in hospitality, Sarah for 10 years oversaw American Express’ Platinum and Centurion cardmember programmes at Momentum Worldwide.
Thatcher Brown, Commercial and Strategic Advisor
Thatcher most recently was President of Dream Cruises and Managing Director of Crystal Cruises Asia at Genting for four years. After starting his career at Fairmont Hotels and Resorts where he spent six years including the role of Executive Director Brand Marketing and Business Development, Thatcher worked at the Jumeirah Group luxury hotel chain for nearly five years, including the position of VP Brand Strategy and Marketing.
Sacha Rougier, Head of Itinerary Planning and Shore Experience
Sacha was Managing Director of Cruise Gate Hamburg for nearly six years and managed the completion of two new cruise terminals, overseeing a 73 per cent increase in passenger numbers. Previously she was Business Development Manager for five years with the Port of Marseille.
John Stoll – Destination Experience Advisor
John worked as VP Land Programmes for 17 years at Crystal Cruises and was previously Director Land Programmes at Silversea Cruises for more than five years where he created award-winning shore excursions.
Ungerer added, “As momentum builds towards the reveal of our vision, our top team will continue to grow, with further highly talented and experienced appointments in people, product and culinary roles.
“We’re getting ready to share our vision of luxury ocean travel with our trade partners when we will present our fleet, showcase our luxury vessels’ innovative designs and demonstrate what I believe will be a best-in-class guest experience for existing and future clients.
“With sustainability forming a crucial part of our DNA, we’ll also show that our new luxury ships are equipped with the latest and most advanced environmental and maritime technologies available.”