Tea Colaianni leaves Hilton for Merlin Entertainments

Merlin Entertainments has filled its group HR director role after being without one for six months.

Tea Colaianni, vice president of HR, Europe, at Hilton Hotels, was headhunted for the post, which is responsible for attractions including Sea Life, Legoland, Alton Towers and Madame Tussauds.

She will join the firm at the end of the month and will be based at the group’s headquarters in Poole, Dorset.

Colaianni worked at Hilton for seven and a half years and was responsible for the HR function in a region comprising more than 20,000 employees, 180 hotels and operating in 25 countries.

Colaianni told Personnel Today: “I loved my team, but after seven and a half years I felt I didn’t have much prospect in terms of career progression. I had done the Europe job for quite some time and I felt I wanted to do a bigger role and it was time for a change.”

“I just felt Merlin was a great company with attractions everywhere. It gives me the opportunity to expand my geographical scope.

“My predecessor left six months ago. It left a vacuum and they need to have someone to lead the function. With all the growth and new attractions set to open there’s a need to make sure we have the right people to take on these jobs.”

Merlin has 60 attractions in 13 countries and almost 15,000 staff worldwide. It has also announced plans for eight new attractions to open in 2010-11, including a Legoland Park in Florida, a Madam Tussaud’s waxworks in Bangkok and in Vienna.

Merlin chief executive Nicky Varney said: “Tea joins the company at a time of very dynamic growth for Merlin. I have no doubt that her strategic, commercial and international experience will be invaluable to us and will allow Merlin to drive excellence across the human resources agenda in line with our vision and values.”

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