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New CEO takes Butterfield & Robinson into the next generation. Literally.

Butterfield Robinson is looking to take its tour company into the next generation with, quite literally, the next generation.

This month, the company said it had appointed 28-year-old Luc Robinson, the son of co-founder Sidney Robinson, as its president and CEO, a position that it now refers to as the “chief experience officer.”

While many travel companies are hyperfocused on reaching millennials, not many have actually put one at the top.

Although Luc Robinson says his role is to lead the company into a new generation, he says it’s not necessarily about a sweeping change in vision or customer demographic, which he said is currently the 50-plus traveler.

Still, with a millennial at the helm, how can the end result not include some changes with broader appeal to younger travelers?

So what exactly is the new CEO’s vision? He says his immediate goal is to “really start talking about the full breadth of what we do  and expanding that story.”

“Our business started with bike trips in France and Italy in the ’80s,” he said. “Now we do family cruises in Croatia, safaris in Africa and pretty much anything that is active and immersive around the world, with a rock-solid team of trip planners.

“We ran trips last year in more than 50 countries. The main goal is to expand in those countries. We’re not trying to go from 50 countries to 100 countries.”

Although Luc Robinson said that he grew up with a lot of great travel adventures, he had never really planned to join the business, adding that his father hasn’t been actively involved in the company since before he was born.

After graduating from college, he said he worked as a consultant and founded a small technology company. Over the last few years, he said, he started working on the side at Butterfield Robinson with his uncle, George Butterfield, who co-founded the business with his wife, Martha, and Sidney.

Luc Robinson said he got hooked after attending a gathering of Butterfield Robinson company guides in Europe.

As CEO, he said, he intends to immerse himself, working closely both with and as a guide and trip planner.

“Luc’s forward-looking vision and focus on innovation provide BR with a dynamic approach that will propel us into the next generation of travel and continue our decades-long commitment to pushing the envelope,” Butterfield said in announcing the appointment.

“But much more importantly, what excites me most about Luc is his passion. Luc embodies our family‘s passion for service, adventure, and helping travelers make real, human connections as they explore.”

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