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Anantara Vacation Club Announces New CFO And Head Of Club Operations

May 22, 2014 Appointments No Comments Email Email

Anantara Vacation Club (AVC), is pleased to announce several exciting changes to the executive team designed to support the company’s continued growth and success. 

Anantara Vacation Club Phuket Mai KhaoHotel industry veteran Howard Leigh has been appointed Chief Financial Officer; Melanie Smith will now oversee Club Operations; and June Harrison, former Senior VP of Club Operations will become a consultant for the vacation club.

“I am delighted and excited to announce these additions to our executive team,” said Harold Derrah, CEO of Anantara Vacation Club.  “In the past few years, we have the stage for solid growth and increased customer satisfaction.  This team will help us achieve that and more as we move forward with expanding our portfolio and further developing the guest experience.”

Anantara Vacation Club launched in 2010 as a unique luxury Shared Holiday Ownership concept offering discerning customers opportunities for 5-star vacations in Asia and beyond.  In less than four years, Anantara has quickly grown into a recognized industry leader.  Through the acquisition, development and renovation of quality resort properties; its unique and flexible Club Points system; and the advantages offered by being part of the worldwide network of Anantara Hotels, Resorts & Spas, Anantara Vacation Club is rapidly becoming the shared ownership industry leader in Asia.  In fact, AVC’s newest purpose built signature resort in Mai Khao is garnering multiple industry awards, including the South East Asia and Thailand Property awards and the American Resort Developoment Award and the ACE International Project of Excellence Award.

Howard LeighHoward Leigh will assume the role of CFO for Anantara Vacation Club, overseeing the finance functions in all of AVC’s markets.  A seasoned financial professional, Howard has decades of experience managing finances for some of the world’s top brands.  Howard started his career with KPMG in the UK.  He then moved to the Coca Cola Company and later Marriott International as Vice President Global Asset Management.  Most recently, he served as CFO at Outback Steakhouse International, a network of over 200 owned, joint-venture and franchised restaurants in 25 countries with over $750 million in sales.

Melanie Smith will now oversee Club Operations, a position she has been training for under the leadership of outgoing Senior VP, June Harrison.  Melanie will lead Club Operations, which includes the Club Services reservation centres in Bangkok and Shanghai as well as the current club resort properties in Phuket, Koh Samui, Bali, Queenstown New Zealand, Bangkok and Sanya China.  She will be responsible for on-time/on-brand openings of future club resort properties.

An Australian national, Melanie has extensive luxury hotel experience.  She came to Anantara Vacation Club in 2012 from the Anantara Bangkok Sathorn hotel.  Prior to Anantara, Melanie worked with the Langham Group and Intercontinental Hotels and Resorts in Hong Kong, Thailand and Australia.

Melanie PhotoAt the same time, June Harrison, a 28-year veteran of the vacation ownership industry, will be leaving her full-time position as Senior VP of Club Operations to semi-retire and become a special project consultant for AVC.  June was a member of the original core launch team for Anantara Vacation Club, responsible for developing and proposing the company’s five year business plan that has set the stage for solid growth and increased customer satisfaction.

As Senior VP of Club Operations, Ms. Harrison was responsible for designing the Club’s offering to its Club Owners, and then implementing the vision. Under her direction, AVC took a leadership position in the vacation ownership industry by creating a lifestyle club geared toward the needs of today’s 21st-century luxury consumer in Asia.  She has been heavily involved in new resort design and selection and has led the development of the service strategy, partner programs and resort operations, overseeing AVC Club Services Centers in Bangkok and Shanghai, and Club Resorts in Phuket, Koh Samui, Bali, Queenstown, New Zealand, Bangkok and Sanya, China.

During her tenure, Anantara Vacation Club achieved an enviable customer satisfaction score of 89.3% in the annual Market Metrix Hospitality Index (MMHI) quarterly customer service report, placing Anantara in the top three hotel brands in Asia for customer satisfaction.

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