Club Med, the leader in premium all-inclusive holidays, today announces the appointment of Rachael Harding as the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of East, South Asia and Pacific. Effective from 1 July 2021, Rachael will lead the stewardship of the Asia Pacific (excluding Greater China) region as they navigate the current market dynamics and prepare for an aggressive rebound. She will also drive the advancement of a profitable growth strategy focused on nurturing matured markets and elevating the emerging markets. She succeeds Xavier Desaulles, who led Club Med Asia Pacific Markets for the past 5 years, and has decided to leave Club Med to take some personal time off with his family.
Rachael brings with her award-winning industry experience and expertise to the role, having over 20 years of experience in the travel sector including working with brands such as Contiki and Trafalgar Travel.
Rachael joined Club Med in 2018 as the General Manager for Club Med Pacific (Australia and New Zealand). Over just three years, her leadership has led to the successful growth of the Pacific market by 26 per cent.
Rachael strong background and experience spans multiple sectors of the tourism industry across retail, corporate & wholesale in the Australian, New Zealand, UK and European markets. Prior to joining Club Med, she spent 15 years working with The Travel Corporation on brands including Trafalgar and Contiki in various sales, distribution and marketing roles. As the Director of Sales at Trafalgar Australia from 2011 to 2018, she developed sales and marketing strategies that generated positive national sales growth for the brand. Most notably, Rachael was awarded Sales Woman of the Year and Top 10 Most Influential Women in Travel at the Women in Travel Awards in 2018 and 2019 respectively.
“With over 20 years of regional hospitality experience and her amazing track record growing the Pacific market, Rachael will be a terrific leader to spearhead Club Med’s business expansion plans in the region. She will prepare the region’s teams for a swift, decisive and impactful rebound following the pandemic and position Club Med strategically to accelerate our growth ambitions for the region in the long term. The region is in good hands under her leadership as we continue our 70 year journey to bring happiness to every one of our guests.” said Henri Giscard d’Estaing, President of Club Med.
Rachael will relocate to Shanghai and focus on driving strategic growth across the region, empowering the commercial teams as well as amplifying marketing, communications and public relations to strengthen brand position and make Club Med the preferred vacation brand in all markets. She is poised to deliver success while demonstrating an inspiring, creative and fresh approach to leadership.
Rachael’s appointment comes on the back of Club Med’s evolution across Asia Pacific (APAC). Previously established in 2019 to capitalize on expertise and maximize efficiencies on a regional scale, Club Med’s ONE APAC Regional Organisation will evolve into three specialized business units with strong governance to ensure seamless collaboration. This will build on the foundations of ONE APAC and allow better leverage of the power of the China market, with all business units based in Shanghai.
The three business units under ONE APAC Club Med are (1) East and South Asia Pacific (ESAP), which covers all of Asia Pacific excluding Greater China, led by Rachael (2) Greater China led by Andrew Xu, CEO of Greater China, which focuses building a strong brand and high profitability in Greater China (3) APAC Resorts managed by Jean-Charles Fortoul, CEO of APAC Resorts, which focuses on fueling profitable growth and providing exceptional product delivery of our Club Med resorts.