A  Ponant and Paul Gauguin Cruises executive is taking the helm of Aurora Expeditions as it plans fleet expansion.

Monique Ponfoort joins the business as chief executive in October from her role as president and general manager for Asia Pacific for Ponant and Paul Gauguin.

She replaces Robert Halfpenny following his resignation from the Australian small ship company in May.

Chairman Neville Buch said: “Monique is an impressive executive and her extensive experience in the cruise and travel industry will be of enormous value to Aurora Expeditions.

“The board and I are delighted that Monique has agreed to join us. We have a very exciting future ahead of us with our second vessel, the Sylvia Earle arriving in 2021 and further vessel plans in the pipeline.

“Monique’s experience and skills will really help Aurora Expeditions in the future expansion of the business and ensure we continue to provide the unique life changing travel experiences that we do, in a small intimate vessel environment.”

Ponfoort added: “I was drawn to the growth and forward thinking of the business together with their true passion in delivering outstanding expeditions and guests experiences to some of the most remote and unique places and cultures in the world.

“I look forward to building on this incredible 28 years of history and to achieve further success in the years to come.”