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Management Team

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Brad Rutherford
Chief Executive Officer

Brad has spent the past fifteen years living in Fiji and employed in various senior management positions related to both inbound travel and tourist transport operations. He was appointed to his current role leading the South Sea Cruises Group in December 2016. With an ultimate responsibility of overseeing the wider group, Brad has key focus on achieving growth and diversity across both existing brands and the introduction of new products. Prior to moving to Fiji, Brad held management positions at Tourism Holdings Ltd in both New Zealand and Australia. 

Brad holds a Diploma of Travel & Tourism, a Diploma of Management, and has completed executive leadership studies at Stanford University's Graduate School of Business and Harvard University's online Business School. 

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Craig Mercer
Chief Operating Officer

Craig oversees the majority of maritime, island, and portside operations. Craig has been in the role since 2010 and in that time the South Sea Cruises Group operations has grown significantly including the merger of the Blue Lagoon Cruises operations into the organization. 

Craig is originally from South Africa but is now a proud Fijian citizen. He holds a Higher Diploma in Nature Conservation; an early career which evolved into a career in hospitality and property management where he held positions in general management and multi-property operational management within the African safari industry.  

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Group Financial Controller

Divya joined the South Sea Cruises Group in 2019 as a Process Improvement Manager and within a year took over the position of Group Financial Controller. Divya is ultimately responsible for the group-wide finances and accounting but also plays a key role in strategy and also acts as the Company Secretary. 

Divya has over 13 years of accounting, auditing, and management experience staring her career as a graduate auditor with KPMG eventually rising to the position of Senior Audit Manager. 

Divya is a CPA (Australia) qualified Accountant and holds a Bachelor of Arts in Accounting from the University of the South Pacific.

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Alyssa Field
General Manager - Global Sales

New Zealand-based, Alyssa initially joined the South Sea Cruises Group in 2017 looking after our Australian and New Zealand trade partners however moved into her current role in 2019. Alyssa has over 20 years of experience across the travel & tourism industry having held senior roles in sales, product procurement, and operations for large travel wholesale companies. Having worked in numerous facets of the industry Alyssa has worked in many facets of the tourism industry with extensive experience in the South Pacific leading to great knowledge of the region and a passion for our gorgeous part of the world. Alyssa holds a Bachelor of Arts and has completed numerous travel & tourism-related courses and has also played a key role in developing a number of travel product & procurement systems. 

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Loretta St Julian-Ooms
General Manager -
Fiji & Asia Sales

Loretta joined the South Sea Cruises Group in 2017 as Business Development Manager looking after the domestic market and trade partners before expanding into the Asian region. Loretta’s role also focuses on driving our groups, conferences and events markets and now also oversees our Vinaka Fiji product.  

Previous to the South Sea Cruises Groups, Loretta was with the Sheraton and Westin Resorts in Fiji where she progressed into the Director of Sales role. 

Loretta holds a Bachelor of Business with majors in marketing and management, and a Diploma in Travel & Tourism from the Auckland University of Technology. Loretta is also a Director of Tourism Fiji. 

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Sonya Ridley
General Manager - Marketing

New Zealand-based, Sonya joined the South Sea Cruises Group in 2019 moving from a fifteen year career in the advertising industry having most recently been General Manager of a specialist advertising agency with a focus on consumer and shopper marketing.

Sonya has always been a frequent visitor to Fiji and with family ties there, moved to this role with a thirst to learn more about the tourism industry whilst bringing her many years of marketing and advertising knowledge to the company and its brands.

Sonya has a Bachelor of Health Science, a Diploma in Event Management, and has completed studies in Leadership Psychology, and Executive Leadership.

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Asena Naweilulu
General Manager - Reservations & Customer Services

Asena joined the team in January 2023 as the Reservations Manager with extensive experience in management roles within the tourism and hospitality industry. Throughout her 20+ years of experience, she has established herself as a goal-oriented and resourceful professional with strong strategic and leadership skills. These credentials earned her a promotion to her current position. Asena has completed studies on leadership development and hospitality management and is currently furthering her studies with the University of the South Pacific.

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Markus Nufer
Corporate Executive Chef

Markus joined South Sea Cruises Group in October 2021 in this newly created role responsible for the food offering and kitchen teams across all of our products that offer a food experience. 

Markus is a Fijian citizen and has had an extensive international career, spanning 30 years, across the cruise line, hotel, and resort industry including sixteen years with Crystal Cruises. 

Markus has a raft of qualifications and was most recently the executive chef at Castaway Island Resort but during the COVID-19 period has been building up a completely sustainable modern farm of teak trees, Sandalwood trees, and fruit trees and is passionate about the promotion of sustainability in modern cuisine. 

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Marian Khan
General Manager - Malamala Beach Club

Marian is new to the South Sea Cruises Group team in 2022 and has a strong leadership background with a particular focus on food and beverage which will certainly help Malamala Beach Club continue to grow and develop to be even better than this award-winning day trip operation is now!

Coming to us from her role as Resort Manager at Castaway Island Resort and having held various senior positions with Ahura Resorts, Marian brings over 20 years of resort experience with the last 16 of those years being right here in the Mamanuca Islands.  

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Biu Waqaniburotu
General Manager - People & Culture

Biu joined the South Sea Cruises team in 2022 bringing with him a wealth of experience. Starting out as labour officer at the Fiji Department of Labour and Industrial Relations, he then spent three years as human resources manager at the Warwick Fiji Resort & Spa. He also worked as manager of support services for Captain Cook Cruises, the human resources managed at Castaway Island Fiji, and most recently a six-year stint as the South Pacific Area Director of Human resources at the Intercontinental Hotel Group.

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Bryden West
Chief Company Engineer

Bryden came on board the South Sea Cruises Group team in 2023. Having worked for the company previously, Bryden is very familiar with our company and products so hit the ground running. Bryden has 20+ years of experience in the maritime engineering industry having re-joined the SSCG team from a similar position in New Zealand. 

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Justin Smith
General Manager - Operations

Justin joined the team in 2023 and took over the General Manager Operations position from Craig when he was promoted. Justin oversees the majority of the island, maritime and portside operations for the South Sea Cruises Group. 

Starting out his career with a Bachelor of Engineering Degree from Auckland University, Justin has over 30 years of experience in the marine industry throughout Fiji and the Pacific including 10 years in the Yasawa and Mamanuca Island passenger transport industry. 

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