EXECUTIVE CHAIRMAN, AZAMARA®
Orlando Ashford is executive chairman of Azamara Cruises, a boutique cruise brand with four luxury ships, where he brings 27 years of global experience in executive management, talent management, organizational development, change management and corporate human resources.
Prior to joining Azamara, Ashford served as president of Holland America Line, leading the award-winning cruise line's brand and business, including its fleet of 14 premium vessels carrying more than 900,000 guests annually to all seven continents. Ashford oversaw Holland America Line’s sales and marketing, revenue management, deployment and itinerary planning, public relations, hotel operations and strategy. Ashford was widely credited in the industry for re-energizing the brand, innovating the guest experience and transforming the corporate culture to embrace inclusion, diversity and creativity.
Previous to Holland America Line, Ashford was president of the Talent Business Segment for Mercer, the global consulting leader in talent, health, retirement and investments. He also served as senior vice president, chief human resources and communications officer of Mercer's parent company, Marsh & McLennan Companies. Ashford also has held several other leadership roles during the course of his career, including group director of human resources for 90 countries in Eurasia and Africa for the Coca-Cola Company and vice president Corporate Center human resources and cultural transformation. Previously he was vice president of global human resources strategy and organizational development for Motorola Inc., where he helped modernize the human resources function for the global tech leader.
Ashford is an author. His newest book, “How Did You Get THAT Job?” takes a personal look at the “rules and tools” he has seen, used and experienced in navigating corporate America, sharing perspectives and advice for those managing their own journey. In his first book, “Talentism,” Ashford examines how technology and human networks can help bridge the skills gap, improve business performance, and lead to the betterment of society at large.
Ashford is a strategic advisor with Sycamore Partners in New York, and serves on the board of directors of ITT, Inc., as chair of the compensation committee; Perrigo Company, as a member of the compensation committee; Array Technologies, Inc., as chair of the compensation committee; State Farm, as a member of the fire and life advisory boards; and Hershey Entertainment & Resorts Company, as chair of the compensation committee. In addition, Ashford volunteers on the boards for the Seattle Chapter of the Positive Coaching Alliance, Virginia Mason Medical Center, and Year Up, a year-long intensive training program for underserved young adults. In 2018 he finished a two-year term as board chair for the Executive Leadership Council (ELC).
Ashford was selected by Seattle Business Magazine for the 2019 Executive Excellence Award, honoring the best-of-the-best leaders in Washington state business and community. In 2017, Black Enterprise Magazine named Ashford to their 2017 list of the “Most Powerful Executives in Corporate America,” and in 2016 he was awarded a Travvy Award for “Most Innovative Executive, Mid-sized Cruise.” Ashford was also named to the “Directorship 100” of the National Association of Corporate Directors in 2013 and 2014, and since 2012 has been named to Savoy Magazine’s list of “Top 100 Most Influential Blacks in Corporate America.” He is a Purdue University School of Technology Distinguished Alumnus.
Ashford holds a Bachelor of Science degree and Master of Science degree in Organizational Leadership and Industrial Technology from Purdue University.