Riviera Travel appoints head of product river and ocean cruise

Katja Hildebrandt is leaving Riviera Travel after 16 years as head of product river and ocean cruise.

From November, the operator’s current head of product strategy and long-haul, Will Sarson, will take up the role.

In his new position, Sarson will be responsible for overseeing and scheduling Riviera Travel’s river and ocean itineraries, including planning new routes and developing current programmes.

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Sarson has worked at Riviera Travel for eight years, prior to which he was head of product and Travelsphere and Just You.

He will continue to report to chief operating officer Robin Shaw.

As part of the restructuring, Riviera Travel’s capacity management team will change reporting lines from Sarson to Neil Puffett, head of aviation and transport.

Puffett will also take responsibility for flight buying and planning strategy across all product categories.

Shaw said: “Will’s knowhow and experience means he is ideally placed to step into this critical role.

“He and Katja have worked closely together over the past eight years on a number of initiatives related to both river and ocean cruises so we have every confidence this will be a seamless transition.

“Will shares our ambitions to continue growing and developing our cruise programmes and we’re looking forward to him helping take the business to the next level.”

Sarson said: “Having worked closely with the cruise team over the past few years, I know what an amazing product we have in place.

“I am excited to build on all of the fantastic work that Katja has put into making our cruise offering the best in the business.”

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