Viator is appointing seasoned travel industry executive Chris R. Vukelich to its board of directors. In addition, the company announced that Ms. Barrie Seidenberg, who has served as the Company’s president since 2005, has assumed the additional role of CEO. Rod Cuthbert, who founded Viator in 1995, assumes the role of executive chairman of the board of directors.
“Chris’s detailed knowledge of the European marketplace will be invaluable to us as we work to increase our presence in this important market,” said Mr. Cuthbert. “And, Barrie’s experience and leadership have been instrumental in managing our growing business globally and taking our flagship brand Viator.com to the next level.”
Mr. Vukelich, 51, brings nearly three decades of travel and hospitality experience to the Viator Board. From 2005 to 2007 he was chief operating officer for Travelport’s Business to Business Services group in the Europe, Middle East and Africa region, managing the company’s Galileo and GTA businesses, including more than 1,000 employees and 20 third-party distributors.
Previously, Mr. Vukelich was vice president, distribution sales and operations for Hilton International, based in Watford, UK, where he ran an international network of call centers and Hilton’s internal service organization. From 2000 to 2003, he held general manager positions in both the global distribution and internet divisions of British Airways PLC, returning after serving in various marketing and sales roles within the organization from 1986 to 1993. Mr. Vukelich, who has lived the last seven years in the UK, now resides in Scottsdale, Arizona.
Executive Role Changes
As President, and now CEO of Viator, Ms. Seidenberg, 42, has primary responsibility for Viator’s day-to-day operations, directs all marketing and product development initiatives, and maintains executive oversight of the company’s technology and finance teams, and its Las Vegas-based Call Center. Since joining the company, she has led a strategic shift in the company’s direction, including a re-launch of the Viator.com consumer-direct web site, which has experienced triple-digit growth in the last year. She also played a major role in Viator’s 2006 acquisition of Las Vegas-based LookTours, and its successful integration into Viator’s world-wide business operations.
Before joining Viator, Ms. Seidenberg was chief marketing officer for Preview Travel, where as part of the executive team she was instrumental in that company’s successful 1997 IPO, and its subsequent acquisition by Travelocity in 2000.
In his new role as Executive Chairman, Mr. Cuthbert, 50, will focus on Viator’s future fundraising efforts and strategic partnerships, as well as other externally focused initiatives aimed at enhancing the growth of the organization and presence within the travel industry. Mr. Cuthbert will dedicate much of his time to future Viator expansion, driven through organic growth and potential acquisitions, and increasing penetration in markets outside the United States, particularly in Europe.
Over the last year, Viator has made significant improvements to Viator.com during which time customer registrations, repeat visits and conversion have soared as sales have more than doubled. The Company’s continued growth and expansion has been fueled, in part, by two successful rounds of Series B venture financing totaling $10 million.