MSC has revealed details of the top team that will lead its new, as yet unnamed, luxury cruise brand.
Chief executive Michael Ungerer has assembled five senior members for the brand’s management team as it prepares to launch in 2023.
The team includes Chris Austin as chief sales officer, formerly SVP global sales and marketing at Seabourn Cruise Line. Prior to that four-year period, he headed up sales for the luxury portfolio at Starwood Hotels & Resorts.
Ungerer added the company was “getting ready to share our vision of luxury ocean travel and the name of the luxury brand and first ship soon”.
“The leaders of the new brand bring more than 100 years of combined knowledge and expertise in the luxury, hospitality and cruise sectors,” he said. “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 next-gen luxury travellers curious to start.”
Joining the team as commercial and strategic advisor is Thatcher Brown, who was most recently president of Dream Cruises and managing director of Crystal Cruises Asia at Genting for four years, with previous roles at luxury hotel brands Fairmont Hotels and Resorts and Jumeirah Group.
Sarah Doyle also joins as chief marketing officer, with most recent experience being vice-president marketing at Bacardi Limited Europe, and with six years at Starwood Hotels & Resorts prior to that, as well as 10 years with American Express’ Platinum and Centurion card member programmes.
Sacha Rougier is joining as head of itinerary planning and shore experience, after six years as managing director of Cruise Gate Hamburg, managing the completion of two new cruise terminals.
John Stoll joins as destination experience advisor after 17 years as vice-president of land programmes at Crystal Cruises and time with Silversea before that.
“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,” said Ungerer.
“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.”
The first vessel for the luxury brand will be delivered in 2023 and will feature 461 “of the largest suites at sea”. It will be built at the Fincantieri shipyard in Italy, and subsequent ships will be delivered in 2024, 2025 and 2026.
“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,” added Ungerer.