Global cruise retailer Harding has strengthened the remits of its executive leadership team as it pursues the next phase of growth.
Long-standing Harding Marketing Director Sue Gosling has taken on a new position as Chief Brand and Culture Officer.
Gosling will be tasked with developing Harding’s brand identity, enhancing its employer value proposition, ensuring sustainability remains at the core of its operations, while maintaining service quality for customers, partners and employees.
She will continue to report to Managing Director James Prescott.
In related developments, Chief Commercial Officer Matthew Hodges, responsible for global retail operations and buying and merchandising teams, will assume responsibility for core marketing and customer insights, effective 1 August.
He will focus on cruise, brand partner and category strategy by drawing on Harding’s rich data and insights developed over the past five years.
Meanwhile, Non-executive Directors Mike Coupe and Neil Harding will continue to add their expertise to the business as Chairman and President, respectively.
The Bristol-headquartered firm has secured a number of important new contracts in recent months and now has retail operations on more than 100 ships, which will result in annual revenues exceeding $700m.
It possesses a ‘highly ambitious’ growth agenda that it says will be delivered by a combination of flexing the talent of new and existing personnel within a structure geared towards global scale and customer service.
James Prescott, Managing Director, Harding commented: “We are an amazing business. Pre-covid we had achieved all of our five year business plan objectives, won some significant new contracts and worked with our partners in innovative ways driven by our cruise specialism, data and breadth of customer insight.
“The investment in people, both internally and through smart hires, and strong processes means we continue to elevate our focus on delivering for all our partners and stakeholders, leading the industry in the key areas of brand, sustainability and culture.
“Having led the marketing and design teams for over 5 years (during which time we have led the cruise customer insight programme and developed our own digital ‘at sea’ customer experience programme with ‘Oceantainment’), Sue is the best placed executive to lead this critical role.
“Sales remain significantly stronger than pre-Covid, and I know the importance our core values – trust, respect and collaboration – play in that success alongside being open, honest, flexible, entrepreneurial, and relentless in delivering for our partners and customers alike. With cruise line partner focused data led, and fully empowered teams, who are insightful, disciplined and always going the extra mile, we are better prepared to deliver great results today and in the future.”
As reported, 2021 was a busy year for the cruise retail markets as ship itineraries scaled up and guests returned to the seas.
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