HX appoints Gebhard Rainer as chief executive

HX (Hurtigruten Expeditions) has appointed Gebhard Rainer as chief executive.

Daniel Skjeldam has been serving as both group chief executive and HX chief executive during the split between the HX and Hurtigruten brands, which was initially announced in 2020.

Rainer will now take up the position of HX chief executive, joining the company with more than 20 years’ experience in the travel and hospitality sectors having most recently held the role of chief executive of Sandals Resorts International.

More: HX demands more expedition cruise sector sustainability transparency

Gebhard’s appointment marks the “final phase” of the separation between the brands, Skjeldam said, and represents a “clear focus and investment on delivering HX’s strategy and financial plan and represents HX advancing towards full autonomy”.

Additionally, Alex Ditcher has been appointed to the newly-created position of chairperson of the HX board.

“The appointment of Rainer is a key component of our strategic plan for the future of HX,” said Skjeldam.

“With his proven leadership and strategic acumen, knowledge of the US market and successfully running a company with strong ties to the travel trade, Rainer is ideally positioned for this key role in HX’s forward journey.”

Rainer said: “I’m thrilled to embark on his journey with HX and to contribute to our shared vision for expedition travel that is mindful, responsibly low-impact and considerate of our surroundings.

“The opportunities ahead are truly exciting and I look forward to leveraging HX’s strengths to drive innovation, growth and positive impact in the expedition travel industry.”

Skjeldam added: “We have now set the right direction for HX, both when it comes to introducing a new brand and establishing and executing the first parts of the new long-term strategy.

“With the split between Hurtigruten and HX in its final phase, I believe the timing is ideal to bring in a dedicated chief executive for HX to develop the company to its full potential.

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