PATA realligns top management
BANGKOK, 4 July 2012: The Pacific Asia Travel Association has named Sheila Leong as chief operating officer effective 3 July, while announcing the sudden departure of senior director – marketing and membership services, Stu Lloyd, who had yet to complete his first year with the association.
Mr Lloyd left the organisation, yesterday, with the association simply stating he was leaving to pursue new opportunities in the Southeast Asia region.
In contrast, Sheila Leong has a long track record with the association. A Singaporean national and a PATA staff member 1998 to 2011, she returns to the association to fill a newly introduced position to consolidate all operational activities.
All regional directors and representatives will report to the new COO with immediate effect, the PATA release explained.
Although the the press statement suggests she is the first to assume the role of a COO, Michael Yates fullfilled similar duties under the leadership of CEO Peter de Jong from 2003 to 2008.
PATA CEO, Martin Craigs added: “PATA is adjusting quickly to provide value to members. We are focusing on a streamlined range of quality services in line with members’ needs in a fast changing digital age.”
Mr Lloyd’s departure had been a subject for the rumour mill over the last three months, but Ms Leong’s return surprised the industry.
She resigned from PATA 30 September, 2011, to open her own events hosting company known as EON Events, registered in Singapore. Just last month she was joined by a former PATA staffer, Jackie Tisapramotkul as managing partner.
In a telephone interview with TTR Weekly, Ms Leong said the appointment was an “extended consultancy agreement to take on additional responsibilities” within the parameters of the EON Events agreement with PATA.
“There is a contribution of time to do the work that is written in the agreement and that has now been extended from three days a week to four and half, or 20 days a month, due to the additional responsibilities,” she explained. ” It is very transparent, with a set of objectives outlined by the CEO.”
PATA’s agreement with EON Events came into effect 1 October 2012 and will expire 31 December this year.
Considering that new COO responsibilities have been added, Ms Leong said she was confident the contract would be renewed for another year or two.
” I can take on the additional work load because Jackie joined me and is she is doing most of the running around for EON,” she said noting there was a commitment to ensure there was no conflict of interest between Pata projects and what EON was developing in other areas.
Ms Leong’s career with PATA started in April 1998 as the director of Northeast Asia at the association’s Singapore regional office. In 2000, she assumed the role of director – events and relocated to PATA’s headquarters in Bangkok. Since then she has played a lead role in organising and implementing all PATA events as head of the events department.
Before joining PATA, she established her travel and tourism event management skills and contacts working with Franco-Asia Travel, Shangri-La’s Rasa Sentosa Resort, and Reed Exhibitions. (Edited press release)