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Hilton names new head of Australasia

Hilton has appointed Heidi Kunkel to the position of Vice President of Operations for Australasia with effect from April 4.

Kunkel will oversee the operations of Hilton’s 23 trading and 9 pipeline properties and lead the company’s growth strategy across Australia, Fiji, French Polynesia, New Caledonia, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea.

She will take over the role from interim incumbent Sean Wooden, who will return to his position as Vice President, Brand Management Asia Pacific.

Hilton’s Area President of Asia Pacific, Alan Watts, welcomed the appointment.

“With Australasia being a key market for Hilton, I am confident that Heidi is the perfect candidate to leverage its potential and bring us to greater heights,” he said.

“With her at the helm, we will continue to build on our recent successes in Australasia, including our win as one of Australasia’s best companies to work for and the opening of our first Curio Collection property in the region, West Hotel Sydney, Curio Collection by Hilton.”

An Australian native, Kunkel was most recently CEO New Markets Europe & Africa at Club Med, responsible for over 15 commercial market sources, including the UK, South Europe, and the Middle East.

“I am thrilled to lead Hilton’s operations in Australasia, as the company looks to an even bigger year in 2018. Hilton is renowned for its hospitality and innovation and I look forward to working with the team to further strengthen our position in the region,” Kunkel said.

Her leadership contributed to Club Med’s Brand of the Year win at this year’s World Branding Awards, an accolade which recognized the holiday chain’s worldwide achievements.

Prior to that role, Kunkel also held key leadership positions in Club Med’s commercial offices and resorts, among them being CEO, South East Asia Pacific; President, North East Asia (Korea and Japan); and General Manager for Pacific (based in Sydney).

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