Virgin Voyages, the multi award-winning brand known for making waves, has announced Michelle Bentubo as its Chief Operating Officer, making her one of very few female cruise industry leaders who directly oversee all operations including marine & technical functions.
Bentubo’s 30+ years of travel and operations experience, along with seven years at Virgin Voyages in senior-level, business-defining roles, makes her the perfect choice to lead the company’s end-to-end operations as the brand evolves from start-up to industry powerhouse.
“I’m thrilled to have Michelle take on this critical role for us at this important time in our growth plans. Having her become our COO is brilliant news for the entire team and our business given how she’s been such an important part of building and creating our brand,” said Nirmal Saverimuttu, Virgin Voyages’ newly appointed CEO.
“Not only am I excited to work with her as she takes our smooth operations functions to the next level, but I couldn’t think of a better leadership mentor for all our crew, especially our future women leaders.”
Bentubo joined the Virgin Voyages team in 2016 as VP of Technology and Operations, previously holding executive roles at Bank of America and Walt Disney World and Disney Cruise Line.
As a founding member of Virgin Voyages team, Bentubo played an integral role in identifying, designing and ultimately implementing the technology framework required for both shipboard and shoreside teams to ensure the brand delivered on its experience promises.
She then took on leadership of the company’s customer service, terminal operations and people and culture organizations shaping the brand’s service and culture philosophy.
Most recently in her role as SVP of Service Excellence, Travel Operations, Crew Training and Experience, Bentubo has been leading all activities, from booking to boarding, for Virgin Voyages’ Sailors.
She also helped drive the brand’s digital experience aboard its high-tech fleet, encompassing everything from its interactive Sailor App to the in-cabin tablets that can control mood lighting, air conditioning and television.
Moving into her new role as Chief Operating Officer, Bentubo will be overseeing every touchpoint of the brand’s end-to-end operations, a critical position as Virgin Voyages expands its offerings to more than 100 ports of call across 45+ global itineraries.
Operations under her leadership include service delivery, port functionality, marine and technology, customer service, digital platforms, change management and business transformation.
Bentubo also leads Virgin Voyages’ Scarlet Squad, a program dedicated to recruiting, supporting and mentoring female talent across operations and preparing them for future leadership positions.
Richard Branson’s irresistible travel brand is celebrated for its much-loved experiences, style and approach as a premium brand. Founded in 2014 and officially launching its first vessel in 2021, the business is seeing record growth. Moving into 2024, the company is primed for success with $550 million in new capital from Ares Management, Bain Capital and Virgin Group.
With a brand purpose of “Creating an Epic Sea Change for All,” Virgin Voyages strives to achieve and maintain a 50/50 gender balance and increase female representation in what is still a largely, male-dominated industry.
Bentubo’s promotion to Chief Operating Officer cements the commitment Virgin Voyages has made to contributing to the change the industry wants to make happen. For more information on Virgin Voyages, its new international growth or its brand purpose, visit www.VirginVoyages.com
Source: Virgin Voyages Public Relations Team
Images: ©2023 Virgin Cruises Intermediate Limited