Great Rail Journeys appoints chief operating officer

Great Rail Journeys, the York-based escorted tour and river cruise provider, has promoted Steve Lee to be chief operating officer for the company’s family of brands.

Celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, Great Rail Journeys also incorporates sister brands Rail Discoveries and the Chicago-based Vacations By Rail.

Lee joined the company in June 2021 as business development and operations director, following 18 years as the commercial director of and Jet2holidays, where he was part of the senior management team.

He has 40 years of aviation and travel industry experience include commercial, operational and strategic leadership, as well as expertise in marketing, PR, e-commerce, retail, customer service, IT and sales.

The creation of his new role makes him responsible for Great Rail Journeys’ operations globally, taking advantage of his previous experience with the UK and US branches of the business.

Dave Riley, Great Rail Journeys chief executive, commented: “As we continue to deliver more European tours to our US customers, creating a single operational unit was the logical next step.

“Steve has been an invaluable leader since joining us at Great Rail Journeys and Vacations by Rail, and his experience both within the company and throughout the global travel industry made him the perfect choice to step into this brand-new role.

“Steve brings with him a wealth of knowledge in customer experience and operational delivery, and I am confident that Great Rail Journeys will continue to thrive and grow under his leadership.”

Lee added: “It’s a really exciting time to be taking on this new global role, encompassing both Great Rail Journeys and Vacations By Rail, as we reach our 50th anniversary.

“I’m looking forward to working with Dave Riley and our Executive team to ensure we continue to deliver a best-in-class customer experience, and to guide us into our next half century of providing memorable, escorted and independent rail and river cruise holidays.”

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