Former Virgin Atlantic head of business readiness Rachel Coffey has been taken on by G Adventures as UK and Ireland sales director.

At the same time, Stu Darnley has been promoted to the newly created position of UK national sales manager.

The appointments take the small group operator’s UK sales team to 11 following continued growth in sales from travel agents in the past 12 months.

Managing director Brian Young said: “Rachel Coffey is a natural leader and she comes to G Adventures with a wide range of experience in travel industry sales and management.

“Most importantly, she has a huge passion for G Adventures’ style of travel, and what we stand for in terms of giving back to the places and people we visit.

“Stu Darnley is a G Adventures success story, having worked his way up from our reservations team – the Boombox – to become a global purpose specialist in the outside sales team.

“Stu lives and breathes G Adventures’ purpose, and combines this with in-depth product knowledge and enthusiasm for our trade partner relationships.”

Coffey spent 13 years at Virgin Atlantic in marketing and sales as well as being country manager for West Africa in Nigeria.

She most recently held the title of head of business readiness, where she led a major change management initiative.

“I have travelled with G Adventures nine times in the past five years, and during my travels I was struck by the strong sense of purpose and mission for travel to be a force for good,” Coffey said.

“I’m excited to get out on the road with my team and meet all the wonderful agents who sell our tours, and to empower them to engage more of their customers to choose G Adventures and have a life-changing experience just like I did.”