Christine Petersen joins Summit Park Portfolio Company, smarTours, as President and Chief Executive Officer
Summit Park, a Charlotte-based private equity firm focused exclusively on the lower middle market, is pleased to announce the hiring of Christine Petersen as the President and CEO of smarTours, LLC (“smarTours” or the “Company”), a leading provider of direct-to-consumer, value-oriented travel experiences to exotic global destinations. Summit Park invested in smarTours in October 2017.
Ms. Petersen joins smarTours with 20 years of experience in the travel industry. Most recently, Ms. Petersen was CEO of Time Out Digital, a business division of Time Out Group, PLC, where she was responsible for supporting the transition to a digital-focused model. Before joining Time Out Digital, Ms. Petersen was involved with several early-stage start-ups and previously spent nearly a decade with TripAdvisor, serving as President of TripAdvisor for Business from 2010 to 2013 and as the first Chief Marketing Officer overseeing marketing, product and partnerships from 2004 to 2010. Named one of the top 25 women in US travel in 2008 by Forbes Magazine, Ms. Petersen also held a variety of management roles in digital travel and financial services companies, including Preview Travel, Travelocity (upon Preview Travel’s acquisition by Travelocity), Charles Schwab and Co., Fidelity Investments and American Express. Christine holds an MBA from Columbia University and a BA in Economics from Colby College. She is a board director at Realself, Inc., an early stage healthcare media company based in Seattle.
“We are very excited to welcome Christine to smarTours to lead our collective vision for the future of the Company,” said Bob Calton, co-Founding Partner of Summit Park. “Christine’s deep knowledge of the travel industry through her experience at Time Out Digital, TripAdvisor, and Travelocity.com, combined with her experience in digital marketing, will be instrumental in executing against our growth plans for the Company.”
In addition to Ms. Petersen, smarTours has made two additional key management team hires since Summit Park’s investment in the Company. Jay Wiley joined in July 2018 as Chief Marketing Officer, and Justin Mitchell joined in May 2018 as Director of Finance and Operations.
smarTours is a leading provider of direct-to-consumer, value-oriented travel experiences to exotic global destinations. The Company offers all-inclusive, curated tours, and over 200,000 passengers have traveled with smarTours since the founding in 1996. smarTours offers both pre-packaged tours with pre-set departure dates for individual travelers and customized private tours for 20+ person passenger groups. For more information, visit www.smartours.com.
About Summit Park
Summit Park is a Charlotte, North Carolina-based private investment firm focused exclusively on the lower middle market. The firm invests across a range of industries, including business and consumer services, light manufacturing and value-added distribution in the Eastern half of the United States. The firm’s capital can be used to facilitate a change in ownership, to support expansion and growth, to provide partial liquidity to existing owners, or to support an industry consolidation plan. For more information, visit www.summitparkllc.com.