Intrepid Travel appoints CTO to lead digital transformation – Strategy – Training & Development

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Intrepid Travel has appointed long-time employee Anu Karunatilaka as its new chief technology officer to lead its digital transformation, as the travel company reworks its post-pandemic goals.

The global tour operator revamped its original chief information officer role after Michelle Beveridge left in 2020 as a result of the pandemic.

Since then, the business established its 2025 Digital Transformation Strategy to lead its “digital transformation across all functions of the business,” Intrepid Travel CEO James Thornton told iTnews at the time.

Intrepid Travel opted to restructure the role this year to incorporate learnings from Covid-19 including taking a more digital approach and better incorporating its customer data.

The former CIO role was centred around the day-to-day operation of the business, with the new role set to focus on the digital transformation as Intrepid Travel seeks to become a tech-led business and the world’s first $1 billion adventure travel company.

Thornton said the company is “delighted to have Anu leading Intrepid’s global technology team as our new chief technology officer.”

“Anu’s operational expertise and knowledge, along with his tenure within our business, will be pivotal to ensuring customers not only find it easy to plan and book their trips with us, but love interacting with our brand.”

Thornton said appointing “a non-Melbourne based C-role” reflected the drive “to see more leadership roles in different markets as we grow international.”

“Our digital transformation will need to be both deep and rapid to successfully enable material advancement for the business and will require a significant change management process across the entire business,” Thornton added.  

Karunatilaka will be based in Colombo but will make regular trips to Melbourne and other regional centres.

As part of his new role, he will also oversee the design, development, security, delivery, and management of technology plus manage a global team.

Karunatilaka said his “focus will be on ensuring all functions of the business are tech-integrated, from how we sell, market, engage and interact with our customers, to ensuring data is at the forefront of all decision making.”

“I look forward to working with the wider team to implement a strong digital strategy, and continue Intrepid’s leadership in this space.”

Karunatilaka has been with the company for roughly 15 years, first joining back in 2008 as a senior solutions architect and development manager on a contract basis before joining the team full-time in as a software development manager.

Moving through the ranks he eventually took on the Asia managing director role in July this year.

Over his career with Intrepid Travel, Karunatilaka successfully integrated all of Intrepid’s joint venture companies onto one technology platform, and led the creation of the company’s main operating system.

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