Apple Leisure Group's (ALG) executive vice president Jacki Marks, who oversees the company's vacation brands, sent travel advisors a letter this month detailing leadership changes on her team, including the promotions of Scott Wiseman and John Tarkowski to senior vice president roles. The moves are the latest in what has been an ongoing evolution at ALG since its merger in 2018 with Mark Travel and the appointment of a new CEO last year. Senior editor Jeri Clausing talked with Marks about the latest moves and what they mean for advisors.
Q: This is just the latest in a series of internal shifts and promotions at ALG over the past year. What is your role now, and how do these latest changes support that?
A: These leadership enhancements all trace back to Alejandro Reynal's appointment as CEO of Apple Leisure Group last fall and his vision for how the organization needs to adapt in order to meet the evolving needs of travel professionals. Ray Snisky and I, along with Steve Dumaine, who leads the [consumer] brands in our portfolio, now report directly to Alejandro. This further emphasizes the importance of the Vacations brands to Apple Leisure Group overall.
This latest organizational change creates a stronger infrastructure of leaders under me, who all share in the responsibility of overseeing all our [business-to-business] business, allowing for faster decision-making and improving our speed to market. Each of my leaders are able to focus on what they are best at and apply that to all of our six travel agent brands. In our prior structure, we struggled to fully realize the value and power of ALG for travel agents without this centralized leadership team supporting all agents and all brands.
Q: In your letter you announced the promotion of Scott Wiseman from president of Travel Impressions to senior vice president and general manager of brand management. With Wiseman taking on a larger role, will we see a new president appointed for Travel Impressions?
A: We have no plans to announce a new president of Travel Impressions or any of the [Vacations] companies at this time. Centralizing leadership for brands such as Apple Vacations, Funjet Vacations, Travel Impressions, United Vacations, Southwest Vacations and Blue Sky Tours under Scott Wiseman is a deliberate move designed to clarify the roles of each of our Vacations brands and help provide better performance analysis to drive better decisions.
Q: What exactly will Wiseman's new role be?
A: With Scott in charge of the overall results for all of our travel agent-facing companies, he will be able to open up new avenues that will enable certain brands to further excel in specific areas, whether it be regional strengths, market segments, consortia relationships, product development or other differentiating factors. He will work with each of my leaders in sales, marketing and trade strategy and operations to maximize the success of our brands and travel agents.
Q: And what about John Tarkowski? He has been promoted from president of Apple Vacations to senior vice president of brand strategy. What does that mean?
A: John Tarkowski will focus on larger-picture programs and strategies across all [Vacations] brands such as Travel Protection Plus and our new Waves agent rewards program. He will guide our overall policy and execute programs to benefit travel advisors, such as "Get Paid to Upgrade," which rewards agents for enhancing their clients' vacations. John has many years as vice president of sales of Apple Vacations, and with his knowledge of what agents need, I am confident we will have even more to offer them in the future.