Holland America Line announced that effective Dec. 1, Orlando Ashford will join the company as president to lead the award-winning cruise line’s brand and business, including its fleet of 15 premium vessels carrying approximately 850,000 guests annually to all seven continents. Ashford joins the company from Mercer, the global consulting leader in talent, health, retirement and investments, where he was president of the Talent Business Segment.
“We are fortunate to have Orlando join our team, bringing with him a career’s worth of global experience leading high-performance teams that helped innovate some of the most respected and well-known companies in the world,” said Stein Kruse, chief executive officer, Holland America Group. “I am confident that Orlando’s leadership will enable Holland America Line to build on its uncompromising Signature of Excellence commitment to deliver a superior guest experience that will continue generating rave reviews from our guests, travel professionals and the industry alike.”
“Holland America Line is a remarkable and highly respected company that delivers exceptional experiences and indelible memories of joy and adventure to their guests,” said Ashford, newly appointed president of Holland America Line. “It’s a noble mission, and I am eager to get to work with this talented group of service-minded employees to unleash new ideas while building on the success of this thriving global business.”
Ashford will oversee Holland America Line’s sales and marketing, revenue management, deployment and itinerary planning, public relations, hotel operations and strategy. He will report to Holland America Group CEO Kruse and will be part of the Group’s executive leadership team alongside brand leaders Jan Swartz, president of Princess Cruises; Richard Meadows, president of Seabourn and president of Cunard North America; and Ann Sherry AO, chief executive officer, Carnival Australia. Ashford will relocate to the Holland America Line headquarters office in Seattle.
Prior to his role at Mercer, Ashford served as senior vice president, chief human resources and communications officer of Mercer’s parent company, Marsh & McLennan Companies. He also has held several other leadership roles during the course of his career, including group director of human resources for 90 countries in Eurasia and Africa for the Coca-Cola Company and vice president Corporate Center human resources and cultural transformation. Previously he was vice president of global human resources strategy and organisational development for Motorola, Inc. where he helped modernise the human resources function for the global tech leader.
Ashford’s recently published book, Talentism, addresses the global disconnect between available jobs – more than one-third of employers worldwide cannot fill all available jobs – and the estimated 202 million eligible workers who are unemployed worldwide. Ashford examines how technology and human networks can help bridge the skills gap, improve business performance, and lead to the betterment of society at large.
Ashford is on the Board of Directors for a global manufacturing company ITT Corporation. He is among the National Association of Corporate Directors (NACD) 2013 and 2014 “Directorship 100,” and has been honoured as a Purdue University School of Technology Distinguished Alumnus. An active community supporter, he is on the Board of Directors for the Executive Leadership Council, the preeminent membership organisation for the development of global black leaders, and for Streetwise Partners, an organisation that brings together low-income individuals and volunteer business professionals to develop workplace skills and employment networks. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree and Master of Science degree in Organisational Leadership and Industrial Technology from Purdue University.