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Hurtigruten Expeditions (HX) has appointed Gebhard Rainer as its new Chief Executive Officer. With this change, Daniel Skjeldam, the current Group CEO and CEO, will transition to a board member role within the Hurtigruten Group.

Hurtigruten Group began a new strategic plan in 2021 and has been restructuring to allow HX to focus entirely on the global expedition cruise market. Rainer’s appointment is a big step towards the expedition arm’s autonomy, as it establishes its own Executive Leadership Team and board.

A New Direction for HX

Daniel Skjeldam.

“We have now set the right direction for HX, both in terms of introducing a new brand and executing the first parts of the long-term strategy. With the split between Hurtigruten and HX in its final phase, the timing is ideal to bring in a dedicated CEO for HX to develop the company to its full potential,” said Skjeldam in a press statement. “The appointment of Rainer is a key component of our strategic plan for HX. With his proven leadership, strategic acumen and knowledge of the US market, Rainer is ideally positioned for HX’s forward journey.” Skjeldam has been leading both companies during the initial transformation.

“I’m thrilled to embark on this journey with HX and contribute to our shared vision for mindful and responsibly low-impact expedition travel,” said Rainer in the statement. “The opportunities ahead are truly exciting, and I look forward to leveraging HX’s strengths to drive innovation and growth in the expedition travel industry.”

Gebhard Rainer brings a wealth of experience from his leadership roles, including his tenure as CEO of Sandals Resorts International and President & Chief Operating Officer at Coach. His career highlights his ability to navigate complex markets and drive business growth.

“His appointment reflects our commitment to ensuring HX’s success and sustainability. Rainer brings expertise, experience, and strategic vision to our team. With his leadership, we are poised to navigate new horizons and solidify our position as a leader in global adventure travel,” said Alex Dichter, the newly appointed Chairperson of the HX Board, in the press statement.

Rainer will assume his role as CEO from July 15. Until then, Skjeldam will continue as CEO of both companies. Post-transition, Skjeldam will join the board of Hurtigruten Group.

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