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Sycamore taps Orlando Ashford as Azamara executive chairman

Orlando Ashford is credited with brand rejuvenations during his more than five years with Holland America Line
Sycamore Partners appointed former Holland America Line President Orlando Ashford as the incoming executive chairman of Azamara.

This will become effective upon the completion of Sycamore’s acquisition of Azamara, which is expected to occur during the first quarter.

Ashford led Holland America for more than five years before stepping down in June. He is credited with brand rejuvenations including enhancing entertainment, live music and culinary experiences. He oversaw a 14-ship fleet.

'We are pleased for Orlando to take on this role as Azamara embarks on its next chapter supported by Sycamore Partners,' Sycamore Managing Director Stefan Kaluzny said. ''Orlando brings significant leadership experience as well as specific expertise in the cruise and travel industry, making him well-suited to serve as Azamara’s executive chairman.'

Admirer of the brand

For his part, Ashford is 'thrilled to be appointed ... at this exciting time for Azamara, having long admired the business and the brand.' He added: 'I believe Azamara is uniquely positioned in the industry, and I look forward to executing on our shared vision for growth. Together with the Azamara team, we’ll focus on offering Azamara’s loyal customers more of what they have come to know and love.'

Perspective to support expansion

Azamara President Carol Cabezas said she looks forward to working with Ashforrd, 'who has equal passion for the cruise industry and the very special product Azamara offers. With the recent news of a planned addition to the fleet, Orlando will bring perspective that will support expansion of the brand while maintaining and growing the unique programming and itineraries beloved by guests and travel industry partners.'

Following an extensive renovation, the former Pacific Princess is set to join Azamara for an inaugural 2022 Europe season.

Before Holland America, Ashford was president of the talent business segment for Mercer and, prior to that, SVP/chief human resources and communications officer for Mercer's parent company, Marsh & McLennan Companies. Earlier, he held leadership roles with Coca-Cola, Motorola, Ameritech and Andersen Consulting. He currently serves on the boards of ITT, Inc., Perrigo Co. plc, Array Technologies Inc. and Hershey Entertainment & Resorts.