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Sandals Resorts' Gebhard Rainer is new HX CEO

Gebhard Rainer brings experience from Sandals Resorts, Coach and Hilton to his new role as HX CEO
Hurtigruten Group appointed Gebhard Rainer, CEO of Sandals Resorts International, as the new CEO of HX effective July 15.

With two autonomous management teams in place for HX and the Hurtigruten coastal fleet, current Group CEO and HX CEO Daniel Skjeldam will transition to board member in Hurtigruten Group.

Skjeldam has been doing double CEO duty during the initial stages of the transformation process of HX.

'We have now set the right direction for HX, both when it comes to introducing a new brand and establishing and executing the first parts of the new long-term strategy,' he said. 'With the split between Hurtigruten and HX in its final phase, I believe the timing is ideal to bring in a dedicated CEO for HX to develop the company to its full potential.'

Leadership, strategic acumen, US market savvy

Skjeldam cited Rainer's 'proven leadership and strategic acumen, knowledge of the US market and [success] running a company with strong ties to the travel trade' as making him 'ideally positioned for this key role in HX's forward journey.'

Rainer said he looks forward to contributing to expedition travel that is 'mindful, responsibly low-impact and considerate of our surroundings,' adding: 'The opportunities ahead are truly exciting, and I look forward to leveraging HX's strengths to drive innovation, growth, and positive impact in the expedition travel industry.'

Sandals, Coach, Hilton 

Leading Sandals Resorts International, for the past six years, Rainer navigated the complexities of the luxury hospitality industry while driving significant business growth. Earlier, during two years as president and COO at Coach, he solidified his reputation as a transformative leader capable of optimizing operations and enhancing consumer experiences.

Before Coach, Rainer had a long career with Hilton Hotels in a variety of senior roles including EVP and CFO.

Alex Dichter, a senior partner at McKinsey & Co., who became HX chair in March, said Rainer brings 'expertise, experience and strategic vision to our team. With his leadership, we are poised to navigate new horizons and further solidify our position as a leader in global adventure travel. His expertise will not only drive the growth of HX but also contribute significantly to achieving our overarching goals as an organization.'