Our cover story last week looked at an industrywide employment concern: the need for qualified travel agents. In our classifieds section of the same issue was a full-page employment ad that suggested the search for industry talent is not limited to the agency community.

In wording as modest, demure and nuanced as the bright orange hue that coats his planes, ships and hotels, Stelios, the founder of EasyJet, announced that he is seeking a CEO for his latest venture, EasyCruise.com.

EasyCruise, like other of his EasyGroup ventures, offers economical alternatives to established components of travel. EasyJet, for instance, brings very low fares to intra-Europe routes, usually landing at secondary or tertiary airfields. EasyHotel has two bare-bones (but well located!) hotels in Basel, Switzerland and London, offering rooms at slightly higher rates than a youth hostel.

EasyCruise offers a vacation experience for independently minded travelers with the simple but significant difference ... that the ship spends only a few hours each day at sea and is in port every night, according to the help-wanted ad.

The cruise industry is consolidated to the point where, in every instance I can think of, CEOs were known entities before getting their jobs. I can imagine that each was approached discreetly by the lines owners to see if he was interested in the position and that most vacancies were filled before other potential candidates even knew there was a vacancy.

All of this is a roundabout way of saying that Ive given it some serious thought, and Id like to go ahead and express my interest in the position.

Of course, employment opportunities are two-way streets, and yes, Stelios, you should know that Ive done some due diligence. I have read this ad thoroughly to ensure that there is a good fit between myself and the company.

Of course, your ad contains all the standard blah-blah-blah about full P&L responsibility and delivering against a five-year growth plan, but what I find especially intriguing about this position is contained in this sentence: The main base of the company will be in Monaco, but frequent trips to London and Miami may be necessary.

As it turns out, primary among my long-term career goals is a home in Monte Carlo and frequent trips to London. Miami is lovely, too, of course, and we can discuss that further, but if my instincts are to be trusted, we are simpatico!

You state that the ideal candidate will have at least 10 years of experience at a successful cruise line, preferably with full P&L responsibility. I know you value candor, Stelios, and so I will be forthright and tell you that this is where Im a little weak.

But I can assure you that I will hire a very strong second-in-command, and on those occasions when P&L is important, it will be handled responsibly. Dont you worry!

In fact, another factor that makes me think this could be a good fit is that it says I would report to you, and that you have 14 other businesses to oversee. It has been my experience that I have had the greatest longevity in positions where my bosses have many other pressing concerns. Somehow, that environment seems to work in my favor.

Finally, you state that a willingness to think outside the box is essential, and here I can give you full assurance that, when it comes to thinking, I am virtually boxless. From the time I was very young, teachers have been quick to point out that mine is a mind that wanders. In countless jobs, superiors have taken note that my comments are not merely outside the box, they are beside the point.

You ask that I e-mail a brief statement as to why EasyCruise.com will be successful, along with my curriculum vitae. Is this, perhaps your first test on outside-the-box thinking?

Let the other candidates follow conventions and do as they are told, but not me. 

Stelios, I am waiting.


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