Managing director of luxury cruise operator Silversea Cruises Trudy Redfern is to leave amid a shake-up that will see it take a more international approach at its UK headquarters.
As part of the change, Steve Odell will return to the UK early next month to take up a role with greater responsibility for fast-growing markets outside of the UK.
Odell has been running Silversea’s Asia and Pacific business in Sydney, Australia, after moving there in 2002.
Redfern, who has been with the line for eight years, announced her departure to colleagues today. She will officially leave at the end of this month ahead of a short period of gardening leave.
Redfern told Travel Weekly she had been negotiating her departure “over a period of weeks”. “The UK is very much an established market, the second largest in the company structure,” she said.
“We have a very strong client base and an excellent distribution of travel partners, but it’s not been growing at the same pace as some of the other markets we have been trying to develop.
“We are trying to give a bit more focus on the European geographical area but still maintain the UK focus.”
Redfern said the strong growth seen in previous years had not been possible to sustain in the UK this year although she said the company was “holding its own” in the face of “fierce competition”.
Silversea’s UK office shake-up mirrors recent changes at mainstream operator Norwegian Cruise Line where former general manager Francis Riley has taken up an international role based in London.
This came after the line decided to operate its German and UK offices as a single unit.
Redfern said, despite the slowdown in growth relative to other markets, the UK still had plenty to offer the cruise industry.
“So much has happened in the UK in such a short period of time with the ash cloud and fuel increases. We have literally been hit by everything.
“The UK had quite challenging expectations for growth this year, but I don’t think anyone expected the economy to be impacted the way it has.
“If you look at the PSA statistics the overall market is growing by 6% whereas Germany grew by just under 20% last year. However, I would not say the UK has plateaued, there’s is still plenty to give.”
Redfern said she hoped to stay in the luxury sector saying she would be exploring her options while on gardening leave and that she left behind a strong team at Silversea.
“We now have an infrastructure in the UK to be proud of. The sales team has done a magnificent job and everything is in place to move it forward,” she said.
“There is always uncertainty when change happens but I am sure it will settle down, we have a very strong sales team.”
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