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Costa names presidents in Genoa and Asia, to shift marine ops to Hamburg

Neil Palomba, svp hotel operations and product development, moves up to Costa presidency
Neil Palomba was promoted to president of Costa Crociere in Genoa and Budhy Sin Bok to president of Costa Asia, Shanghai, while the Costa Group plans to develop a marine operations center in Hamburg that could impact about 160 Genoa jobs, according to Italian sources.

Palomba is currently svp hotel operations and product development, while Bok is svp Pacific Asia & China. Both will report directly to Costa Group ceo Michael Thamm, as does AIDA Cruises president Michael Ungerer.

Palomba will be responsible for managing the Costa brand, as well as for the structure and design of products, sales and customer care.

Bok's promotion reflects the increasing importance of Asia for the Costa Group, especially the rapidly growing Chinese market.

'These appointments will help us strengthen our Costa and Costa Asia brands and support the development of our global activities, especially in Europe and Asia,' Thamm said.

The new central marine operations center in Hamburg will be called Carnival Maritime, Costa Group, to be led by Jens Lassen, current svp marine operations for AIDA Cruises, who also will report directly to Thamm.

With the support of Lufthansa Technik, the center is creating 'a highly modern, digitalized unit' for fleet operations, in Costa's words. This would oversee 25 ships.

'The Hamburg location offers us excellent access to technology and expertise in the maritime sector. We are certain that the close cooperation with Lufthansa Technik will enable us to transfer airline know-how to improve continuously the quality of our fleet’s operations,' Thamm said.

Seatrade Insider understands about 160 employees from four Costa departments—marine operations, medical, hotel maintenance and technical procurement—are expected to be affected by the transfer to Hamburg. On Thursday morning a meeting between Costa employees and management was taking place in Genoa.

It is expected that labor groups will fight any layoffs and push for employees to get transfers to other departments in the Genoa headquarters.