Alex Pinelo to succeed Gary Murphy as SVP sales, AmaWaterways

Gary Murphy, left, is handing the SVP sales role to Alex Pinelo, right, but will continue as a director on the AmaWaterways board
Gary Murphy plans to retire April 1 from leading sales at AmaWaterways and will be succeeded by Alex Pinelo, promoted from VP to SVP sales.

Following in the footsteps of his father Jimmy Murphy, who co-founded AmaWaterways with Rudi Schreiner and Kristin Karst in 2002, Gary joined the river cruise line in 2009 and in 2013, he was appointed VP sales. He became SVP sales in 2019.

'It is difficult for me to use the term “retirement,” but I have two passions in my life — AmaWaterways and my family — and the time has come for me to devote more time to the second one,' Murphy said. 'The Murphys are forever attached to Rudi, Kristin and the entire AmaWaterways family, and we look forward to celebrating with AmaWaterways as it continues to set the standard for river cruising around the globe.'

Murphy continued: 'With AmaWaterways' strong management team, the company is in an excellent position to capture a greater proportion of the river cruise market as the travel industry rebounds in the year ahead.'

Strong partnerships with travel advisors

Murphy has played an integral role in building AmaWaterways’ relationships with travel advisors and launching innovative support programs. Prior to AmaWaterways, his travel industry experience spanned more than 30 years working Group Voyagers in Europe, Brendan Vacations and as VP marketing and sales for Miami Air International.

Continuing on the board

'Gary has been a valued member of our team and the AmaWaterways family. His unfaltering respect and support of the travel advisor community has been instrumental in building the strong partnerships and mutual trust we have with our national account partners,' said Karst, EVP and co-founder, AmaWaterways. 'We will miss Gary’s wisdom, enthusiasm and passion on a day-to-day basis, but as a co-owner of AmaWaterways, he will remain an active member of our board representing the Murphy family, along with his sister Susan.'

Noting the sales team has grown and developed tremendously under Murphy's leadership, Karst added: 'We are so excited to see what the future holds as Alex steps into his new role.'

As SVP sales, Pinelo will continue the momentum he has built since joining AmaWaterways in 2017. Leveraging his cruise industry experience, he will continue to lead the sales team in strengthening the personal relationships with its travel advisor partners and communicating AmaWaterways’ value proposition.

Europe season to start mid-March

Murphy’s retirement and Pinelo's promotion come as the company prepares to launch its 2022 European season in mid-March. Expansion plans for the fleet are underway, including the continued development of AmaMagdalena, which is scheduled to debut on Colombia’s Magdalena River in early 2024.

'Gary will always be a trusted partner and more than that, family,' AmaWaterways President and Co-founder Schreiner said. 'We will truly miss his insight and innovative spirit, but we look forward to continuing the legacy we’ve built with the Murphy family as we enter a very exciting new chapter for our business.

'AmaWaterways is approaching the 2022 river cruise season with confidence and peace of mind, knowing our ships are fully paid for and our financial security remains solid,' Schreiner added. 'We successfully operated 320 river cruises last year and 2022 reservations are looking very strong, particularly for the second half of the year. Good things are on the horizon for the travel industry, and we are ready.'

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