Walt Disney Parks and Resorts today announced the appointment of Bill Ernest as President and Managing Director, Asia, for Walt Disney Parks & Resorts.
NB: This is a Disney press release. We have done nothing here beyond cutting and pasting, and adding our own photo. I think you'll agree we do good work.
BURBANK, Calif. (April 16, 2008) – Walt Disney Parks and Resorts today announced the appointment of Bill Ernest as President and Managing Director, Asia, for Walt Disney Parks & Resorts.
In this new role, Ernest will oversee the company’s parks and resorts developments throughout Asia, including Hong Kong Disneyland (HKDL) where he has served as Executive Vice President and Managing Director. He will remain based in Hong Kong and oversee the company's new business initiatives in the region and the long-term strategic direction of the Hong Kong Disneyland Resort.
Dave Vermeulen, Vice President, Resort Operations of HKDL and 43-year Disney Operations veteran, will immediately assume the role and responsibilities of Managing Director, Hong Kong Disneyland, reporting to Ernest.
"This promotion is a testament to Bill’s leadership, his instrumental role in opening Hong Kong Disneyland, and also underscores the company’s commitment to international growth, especially in this region,” said Jay Rasulo, Chairman of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts. “Through his dedication, Bill has helped develop HKDL as an iconic attraction in Hong Kong, mainland China and the Asia-Pacific region.”
Mr. Ernest arrived in Asia in 2003 to manage the operations of Disney’s first theme park in China. He began his role at HKDL as Managing Director, Operations, before being appointed Executive Vice President and Managing Director in January, 2006. During the past two years, he has led the HKDL cast of more than 5,000 in opening the new resort, and oversaw the launch of a series of successful special events and entertainment initiatives to enhance the guests’ experience.
Prior to assuming his position at Hong Kong Disneyland, Ernest was Vice President of Operations and Support for Disney Cruise Line. He was instrumental in launching Disney Cruise Line in Florida in 1998. Under his leadership, Disney Cruise Line enjoyed tremendous success, receiving some of Disney's highest guest-satisfaction ratings.
Ernest gained hands-on experience in managing resort operations as Vice President of Resorts Operations at Walt Disney World in 1997. He is also a veteran of Disney’s hotel business serving as General Manager of Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort and Disney's All-Star Resorts at Walt Disney World.
Ernest first joined Disney as General Manager of Disney's Hilton Head Island Resort in South Carolina in 1994 and was later promoted to General Manager of Field Businesses where he was responsible for incorporating Disney's Vero Beach Resort in Florida to the Disney Vacation Club.
Prior to Disney, Ernest opened over 40 hotels for the Marriott Corporation under their Courtyard, Fairfield Inn and Residence Inn brands.
Ernest received his Bachelor and Master of Science Degrees in hospitality management and recreational management from Southern Illinois University. He enjoys long-distance running, swimming and bicycling. He is married with two children.
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