MSC names senior team to head up new luxury brand
Clockwise from top left: Michael Ungerer, Thatcher Brown, Christopher Austin, Sacha Rougier and Sarach Doyle

MSC names senior team to head up new luxury brand

GENEVA — After first announcing its new ultra-luxury cruise brand in October 2018, MSC Cruises has now appointed five senior members to help bring the brand to life.

CEO Michael Ungerer says that the new appointments “bring more than 100 years of combined knowledge and expertise in the luxury, hospitality and cruise sectors” and that together they will “create a luxury and lifestyle travel experience as distinct as it is trailblazing.”

When the new luxury segment officially sets sail, with its first cruise ship set for delivery in spring 2023 and three others coming in 2024, 2025 and 2026, Ungerer says that it will “exceed the expectations of both discerning cruisers seeking something different, those new to cruising and next-gen-lux travellers curious to start.”



The new appointments are as follows:

  • Chris Austin, Chief Sales Officer: Austin most recently served as SVP Global Sales and Marketing for four years at Seabourn Cruise Line, during which in 2019 he was named ‘Cruise Ambassador of the Year’ by Virtuoso. For nearly 20 years prior to that, he led sales for Starwood Hotels & Resorts.
  • Thatcher Brown, Commercial and Strategic Advisor: Brown most recently served as President of Dream Cruises and Managing Director of Crystal Cruises Asia at Genting for four years. After starting his career at Fairmont Hotels and Resorts, he worked at the Jumeirah Group for nearly five years where was VP Brand Strategy and Marketing.
  • Sacha Rougier, Head of Itinerary Planning and Shore Experience: Rougier was Managing Director of Cruise Gate Hamburg for nearly six years and managed the completion of two new cruise terminals, overseeing a 73% increase in passenger numbers. She previously served as Business Development Manager with the port of Marseille.
  • John Stoll, Destination and Experience Advisor: Stoll worked as VP Land Programmes for 17 years at Crystal Cruises and was previously Director Land Programmes at Silversea where he created award-winning shore excursions.

“As momentum builds towards the reveal of our vision, our top team will continue to grow with further highly talented and experienced appointments in people, product and culinary roles,” adds Ungerer. “We’re getting ready to share our vision of luxury ocean travel with our trade partners when we will present our fleet, showcase our luxury vessels’ innovative designs and demonstrate wheat I believe will be a best-in-class guest experience for existing and future clients.”

MSC’s first luxury ship will feature 461 of the largest suites at sea, all with oceanfront balconies or terraces. It is scheduled to be delivered in 2023 from the Fincantieri shipyard in Italy.

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