Ashford’s Distinct Style Is Leading HAL Into The Future
year ago this month, 142 yr. old Holland America Line broke away from tradition
bynaming Orlando Ashford its
Ashford himself is well aware that his presence represents change, tellingCruise Week: “There are a few
things that are unique, right? I've not grown up in the cruise industry; Igrew up in the HR and consulting
business. I'm 46 years old. So for the role that I'm in, I'mrelatively young. And I’m
He sees these as valuable points of difference.
“When I show up, I'm sure people are interested in me for all those reasons.
When you put the combination together, it makes for some interest and intrigue.
Andthat's great. It creates a
little bit of ‘Hmmm, I wonder what's happening over there? That guy's kindadifferent. Maybe that brand's a little
different than maybe I thought.’ So we leverage it to ouradvantage.”
factor that has shaped Ashford’s management perspective is where he has lived.
He reels off the list: “I've lived in Atlanta, Turkey, Connecticut, Montreal
and Toronto. My
adolescence was northeast, so I guess you could call me an East Coast kid, but
I did get 2degrees from Purdue
University in Indiana and I lived in Chicago for 11 years, I'm pretty
midwestern, but I've lived internationally.”
point is, Ashford is a man used to being out of his comfort zone and living in
differenttime zones, which
impacts his management style. Insiders tellCruise
Weekhe’s notautocratic, rather he brings a
consensus-building management style to the company.
The different style is an asset when making
changes at a company built around traditions. It’s undoubtedly more challenging
than at acompany such as Royal
Caribbean, where the core message over the years is associated withchange itself. At Holland
America part of the attraction has been its history and consistency.
It’s early yet, but leaders in the trade are already noticing some changes.
ObservesBill Smith, V.P. of
Cruise Sales & Performance Management at Virtuoso: “When we hadOrlando on for a webinar, I commented,
‘You’re really changing a boring, staid old brand,doing something exciting with it. I
really applaud all of that.’”
Smith says it is a necessity for Holland America Line and the trade. “You’ve
got a lot ofbrands out there
that are moving forward, so if you don’t you’re going to get lost. I think
Orlando is doing a great job to reposition his brand. A lot of that old Holland
Americaguest is dying off. So I
wish him luck. We need him to be successful.”