AmaWaterways has announced the retirement of Gary Murphy, senior vice-president of sales, effective April 1.
He will be succeeded by Alex Pinelo, who has been promoted from vice-president of sales to the senior vice-president of sales position, the company announced on Monday (Jan. 24).
“It is difficult for me to use the term “retirement,” but I have two passions in my life – AmaWaterways and my family – and the time has come for me to devote more time to the second one,” said Murphy. “The Murphys are forever attached to Rudi, Kristin and the entire AmaWaterways family, and we look forward to celebrating with AmaWaterways as it continues to set the standard for river cruising around the globe. With AmaWaterways' strong management team, the company is in an excellent position to capture a greater proportion of the river cruise market as the travel industry rebounds in the year ahead.”
Following in the footsteps of his father Jimmy Murphy, who co-founded AmaWaterways with Rudi Schreiner and Kristin Karst in 2002, Gary joined the river cruise line in 2009 and in 2013, he was appointed to vice-president of sales.
In 2019 he was named senior vice-president of sales and has continued to play an integral role in building AmaWaterways’ relationships with travel advisors and launching innovative support programs to meet the ever-changing needs of the travel industry.
Prior to joining AmaWaterways, Gary’s travel industry experience spanned more than 30 years working Group Voyagers in Europe, Brendan Vacations, and as vice president of marketing and sales for Miami Air International.
“Gary has been a valued member of our team and the AmaWaterways family. His unfaltering respect and support of the travel advisor community has been instrumental in building the strong partnerships and mutual trust we have with our national account partners,” said Kristin Karst, executive vice president and co-founder of AmaWaterways. “We will miss Gary’s wisdom, enthusiasm and passion on a day-to-day basis, but as a co-owner of AmaWaterways, he will remain an active member of our board representing the Murphy family, along with his sister Susan. The AmaWaterways sales team has grown and developed tremendously under Gary’s leadership, and we are so excited to see what the future holds as Alex steps into his new role!”
As senior vice president of sales, Pinelo will continue the momentum he has built since joining AmaWaterways in 2017.
Leveraging his cruise industry experience, he will continue to lead the AmaWaterways sales team in strengthening the personal relationships with its valued travel advisor partners and communicating AmaWaterways’ value-added proposition – offering intimate ships, enriching excursions, convenient air arrangements, and pre and post-cruise land packages that bring travellers the seamless luxury experience they deserve.
Murphy’s retirement and the promotion of Pinelo come at an exciting moment in time for AmaWaterways, as the company prepares to launch its 2022 European season in mid-March.
Expansion plans for the fleet are underway, including the continued development of AmaMagdalena, which is scheduled to debut on Colombia’s Magdalena River in early 2024.
“Gary will always be a trusted partner and more than that, family. We will truly miss his insight and innovative spirit, but we look forward to continuing the legacy we’ve built with the Murphy family as we enter a very exciting new chapter for our business,” said Rudi Schreiner, president and co-founder of AmaWaterways. “AmaWaterways is approaching the 2022 river cruise season with confidence and peace of mind, knowing our ships are fully paid for and our financial security remains solid. We successfully operated 320 river cruises last year and 2022 reservations are looking very strong, particularly for the second half of the year. Good things are on the horizon for the travel industry, and we are ready.”