Deb McDiarmid, Marriott International

Marriott appoints Area Director of Marketing for ANZP

Marriott International has appointed Deb McDiarmid to the position of Area Director of Marketing – Australia, New Zealand and Pacific.

The experienced marketing professional will be responsible for driving strategic marketing and innovation across the group’s 47 hotels in the ANZP region – encompassing 16 brands in six countries – working closely with hotel teams.

McDiarmid has relocated to Sydney from the Sheraton Grand Mirage Resort, Port Douglas, where she has spent the last 2.5 years as Director of Marketing. During this time, the resort has broken all past performance records since its opening in 1987.

“I look forward to fostering a culture of collaboration and innovation within the team, aiming to contribute to Marriott’s vision as the world’s favourite travel company with a focus on enriching communities and expanding presence in new destinations,” said McDiarmid.

“By embodying innovation and adapting to change, we are well poised to further elevate our position as one of the region’s biggest players in hospitality.”

During her illustrious 30-year career, McDiarmid has held marketing leadership positions across multiple brands in Australia, Thailand, China and the Maldives.

A decade spent with Starwood Hotels and Resorts saw McDiarmid take on roles including Multi-Brand Director of Marketing Communications and Property Director of Sales and Marketing before joining Marriott as National Director of Marketing (2011-2014), recently returning to Sydney for the Area Director role.

McDiarmid has played a key role in leveraging Marriott International’s global sustainability initiatives, having launched the Earth-Friendly Events Program.

In this new role, McDiarmid’s strategy will focus on driving brand awareness, market share, revenue, and profit within the region.

Plantation Island Resort welcomes new GM

Fijian hospitality group Raffe Hotels and Resorts has appointed Rodney Samuels to the position of General Manager at its award-winning Plantation Island Resort.

Samuels has relocated to Fiji from New Zealand to take up the role this week, marking a return to the nation where he worked for more than 14 years. He was part of the (then Sheraton) Vomo Island Resort pre-opening team in 1994 and returned to work in the industry again between 2004 and 2022 to take on a range of management and operational positions at Tropica Island Resort on Malolo Island, Doubletree Resort by Hilton in Fiji and Sonaisali Resort and Hilton Fiji Beach Resort.

Samuels launched his own hospitality consulting business in 2020, providing advice to Fijian investors and operators on a broad range of issues from operations and management diagnosis, through to capital planning, project management and all aspects of human resources including training.

“I consider Fiji to be my second home, and am thrilled for the opportunity to return to this world-class destination,” Samuels said.

Rodney Samuels

“Joining the exceptional team at Plantation Island Resort is an absolute career highlight for me, and I am truly committed to working alongside such an inspiring group of people each day to elevate our guest experience to the next level for our guests.”

Samuels takes charge of the day-to-day operation of the property, taking the reins from well-respected former General Manager, Alex Wilson, who returns to his home in Australia after a triumphant six-year tenure at the resort.

During his tenure, Wilson forged a new conservation partnership with NGO Corals for Conservation (C4C), the BULA Reef, and his legacy lives on in the 16 x 45 metre underwater word structure, which is the largest rescue reef of its kind in history written in over a thousand heat-adapted “super corals” and formally endorsed by UNESCO as part of its Ocean Decade of Action.

“On behalf of the team I’d like to express our sincere gratitude for the massive impact of outgoing General Manager Alex Wilson, his legacy will carry the resort forward long after he departs” said Raffe Group’s Chief Executive Officer Lee Pearce.

“We have been extremely fortunate to have had Alex with us for a solid seven years, and he very much embodied the hospitality, generosity of spirit and integrity with which we treat guests, partners and staff.

“Now, we are delighted to welcome Rodney, another experienced hotel and resort professional, to the Raffe Group to put his personal stamp on the role.

“We are confident that Rodney will thrive given his genuine understanding and passion for Fijian culture and local experiences. This, combined with his business acumen and support of his local team members, will certainly work to maintain our exceptional standards of service and value while striving for continuous improvement.”

Ron Cusiter

Centara names key leaders

Thailand hotel operator Centara Hotels and Resorts has welcomed two experienced hospitality professionals to its executive team with the appointment of Ron Cusiter as Executive Vice President – Commercial, and Percy P. Muncherji as Vice President – Design and Technical Services.

Cusiter offers a wealth of international expertise in the luxury hospitality sector, with his most recent role as Vice President – Global Sales and The Americas with Kempinski Hotels. He has also held senior roles with COMO, Hyatt and Rosewood hotel groups.

“I am delighted to join Centara at this exciting time. As travel and tourism soars, the need for an innovative and effective commercial strategy to underpin brand growth objectives is more critical than ever,” said Cusiter.

“I look forward to enabling the world’s travellers to discover Centara’s timeless style of family-centric Thai hospitality, while maximising the benefits to the business and driving the company’s success.”

Muncherji is a qualified architect with 30+ years of top-level experience leading many key projects across hotels, luxury condominiums, serviced apartments and more, including as Vice President – Technical Services for Oakwood Asia Pacific.

Percy P. Muncherji

“High quality architecture and design are at the heart of good hospitality, so I am thrilled to be able to work closely with the entire team at Centara to create new ways to deliver the group’s Thai-inspired guest experiences across every sector of the market,” said Muncherji.

“I look forward to driving the evolution of Centara’s popular brand concepts and the creation of new designs that will position the company at the cutting-edge of the hospitality industry.”

Muncherji will be instrumental in the evolution of Centara’s existing brands and dynamic new concepts.

“We are delighted to welcome Ron and Percy to Centara, as we continue to attract the industry’s most exciting talent and raise the bar for professional expertise,” said Centara Hotels and Resorts Chief Executive Officer, Thirayuth Chirathivat.

“As we embark on an era-defining phase of expansion that will introduce our unique style of family-centric hospitality to multiple new markets around the world, I have the utmost confidence that the appointment of these industry experts, who bring with them a wealth of knowledge, will contribute significantly to our success as we strengthen our position in the global hotel industry.”