MSC Group’s new luxury brand, which was unveiled in 2019, announced five new hirings for its management team on Wednesday, and they include several well-known names from all corners of the travel industry.
Chris Austin, the former SVP of global sales and marketing for Seabourn Cruise Line, is joining the group as its new chief sales officer. Austin left Seabourn after four years with the line in October 2020 and before that had spent almost two decades leading sales for the luxury brand portfolio at Starwood Hotels.
Sarah Doyle, most recently the vice president of marketing with Bacardi and before that the global brand director at W Hotels, will join the group as the chief marketing officer.
Thatcher Brown, most recently the president of Dream Cruises, will join the group as a commercial and strategic advisor. Brown, in his career in travel, also served as managing director of Crystal Cruises Asia, and the vice president of onboard revenue and product development at Costa Cruises.
Sacha Rougier, who spent six years as the managing director of Cruise Gate Hamburg and five years as a business development manager at Port of Marseille, is coming aboard as the new head of itinerary planning and shore experience.
And John Stoll, who spend 17 years with Crystal Cruises and time as land programs director at Silversea, is joining the group as the new destination experience advisor.
“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 travelers curious to start," CEO Michael Ungerer said.
MSC’s new luxury ships, 10 expected to launch in 2023, will sail with just 500 staterooms at 64,000 gross tons, giving guests more room and coming “as close as it comes to a private yacht experience," according to MSC USA Country Manager Roberto Fusaro.
MSC describes the new ships as “superyachts” that “will introduce to the luxury segment a broad range of new guest experiences and activities as well as generous ratios of public spaces, in addition to showcasing highly innovative design.”