PATA’s CEO moves on, Mario Hardy takes the reins

AFTER three years at the helm, PATA’s CEO, Martin Craigs, is stepping down on November 1, leaving an association that has managed to shed some of its old boys’ image and create new value for its members.

Speaking to TTG Asia e-Daily at PATA Travel Mart (PTM), Craigs cited personal reasons for not seeking a further three-year term. “I’ve never had three non-stop weeks at home for 30 years,” he shared.

In a memo to members, Craigs described what he called a hard year, “with three close family losses and an unrelenting travel schedule”.

“I’m leaving on a high note because I think PATA has significantly enhanced its offering to its members…(on another) high note, my last sales job was to secure PTM in Bengaluru next year,” he revealed.

“These three years have been about pioneering and changing mindsets. Now we’ve got so many programmes and activities; they need to be operationally perfected. And Mario (Hardy) is an excellent COO who can carry this forward.”

Hardy will become interim CEO, but PATA’s board will have to decide whether he eventually takes the top post.

When asked what areas the new CEO could work on, he remarked: “The internal process and constitution need to be radically updated. We cannot justify having an AGM that stretches out two or three days. IATA’s formal AGM takes 90 minutes.”

There also has to be more diversity on the PATA board, Craigs observed.

He said: “People who have served their time on the board should happily share their knowledge and hand over to the next generation, otherwise they are inevitably going to refer to their old experience.

“We’d like to see more Asian females on the board and people with specialist knowledge, e.g. a legal person or someone in IT, which is usually next-gen. We also discussed, and it’s been agreed in principle, that our Face of the Future (award winner) should come to an executive board meeting at least once, twice a year.”

Commenting on Craigs’ departure, long-time PATA member and vice-chairman of the board, Kevin Murphy, told TTG Asia e-Daily: “Martin is leaving a legacy that PATA can build on. His background, particularly in airlines, has been of great value.

“But PATA is bigger than one person. PATA is still here after 63 years and will be in the future. We need to take it forward so that Martin’s efforts will not be lost.”

Read more in TTG-PATA Travel Mart Show Daily

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