Athanasiou left, according to an interview she gave Travel Weekly, because she decided to delay getting vaccinated for COVID-19, a condition of employment for US-based customer or vendor-facing roles. She added her support for NCL's vaccination policy and said everyone else in her household who was eligible has been vaccinated.
'Respect for the great work she has done'
In a note to travel partners, NCL President and CEO Harry Sommer expressed 'incredible respect for the great work she has done and the stellar team she has built during her tenure with our company, which is why I am saddened to share that she will leave our organization to pursue other adventures.'
He said Athanasiou will provide consulting to NCL through November.
'A force of nature'
'Katina is an absolute force of nature and had significant impact on our engagement level and support of NCL during this crazy past couple of years,' said Alex Sharpe, president and CEO, Signature Travel Network. 'She did a phenomenal job of building relationships in a short time, while driving the business during the most difficult of circumstances.
'She is too young and too good not to return before long,' Sharpe continued. 'The industry is certainly better with her in it. We look forward to continuing to work with NCL as we all push to get to the other side of this crazy pandemic together.'
Hamilton, VP international business, moves up to SVP sales, taking the reins from Athanasiou and continuing to report directly to Sommer, with whom he has worked closely for the past five years.
Hamilton has held a variety of roles over 14 years at the company, including VP commercial and business planning for Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings and the NCL, Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises brands. In that job he oversaw the execution of revenue and sales strategy, driving growth from international markets for all the brands.
New chapter for Athanasiou
In a note on her Facebook page, Athanasiou wrote: 'While not easy, I’ve made the personal health decision to delay getting vaccinated, which means I will begin a new chapter apart from Norwegian. I’m forever grateful and appreciative of the remarkable people I’ve worked alongside and various opportunities I’ve been lucky enough to experience these past 10 years. I’m thankful to Frank [Del Rio] (and Andy [Stuart] and Harry) for trusting me and allowing me to help build this special brand alongside them.'
Athanasiou became chief sales officer, a newly created role, in August 2019 under then-NCL President and CEO Andy Stuart. She had been SVP charters, meetings, incentives and events, overseeing the sales efforts for full-ship charters and corporate and incentive groups across the Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings brands. Previously, she led the MICE sales effort for Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas.