Ted Sykes to Depart American Queen Steamboat Company Helm
Today, American Queen Steamboat Company announced that Ted Sykes will be stepping down from his role as President and COO by the end of the year. Sykes joined the river cruise line six years ago after the launch of the first boat American Queen.
Since that time the company has expanded to the Pacific Northwest with the American Empress on the Columbia and Snake Rivers in 2014 and launched the American Duchess, the first purpose-built boutique paddlewheeler on the Mississippi River basin, in 2017. American Queen Steamboat Company also recently announced the American Countess is under construction for launch in slightly over a year.
“I would like to thank Ted for all of his dedication and hard work in making American Queen Steamboat Company a premium product. We have reestablished overnight cruising on the American waterways and proven them as a worthy destination for both domestic and international guests,” shared John Waggoner, Chairman and CEO of American Queen Steamboat Company. “The level of repeat customers we’re now seeing on our vessels is testament to the quality experience that is being delivered.”
Under his stewardship, Sykes saw demand increase year upon year, with many voyages selling out months in advance. 2018 will conclude with American Queen Steamboat Company’s most successful season on record with bookings at record levels.
“The past six years have been a wonderful experience as we have built the company and grown this market to have a real economic impact showcasing destinations from Natchez to Red Wing,” said Sykes. “We have created a recognizable brand with well-defined attributes, have built a financially stable company and now have a well-rounded management team in place. It’s time for someone else to step in and take it from here.”
Under Sykes’s leadership, innovative itineraries including the highly-popular Mighty Mississippi voyages spanning from St. Paul to New Orleans were introduced, generating accolades among loyal guests. Sykes also brought the themed Christmas Market sailing concept from Europe to domestic river cruising, extending the seasons on the lower Mississippi. Constantly seeking to raise the bar on the guest experience, Sykes’s team earned recognition for its shore excursions and cuisine.