Kenyon Emergency Services expands leadership team


Kenyon Emergency Services, the provider of disaster response services, part of the global aviation services group, Air Partner, announced the appointment of six new emergency planning and crisis communications experts to enhance the company’s global disaster response and crisis communications services.

Shabita Sumaraj has been appointed Kenyon’s Head of Humanitarian Services. Based in the company’s UK headquarters in Bracknell, Shabita has extensive first-hand experience of Emergency Response Planning. In her previous role as Head of Operations at a GP Federation in Surrey, she successfully led the role out of a vaccination programme which delivered over a million vaccinations while also running the daily operations at multiple sites. Shabita also has over 18 years’ experience in the aviation industry, having worked with Cathay Pacific in a variety of roles including overseeing emergency preparedness for 14 ports across 11 countries in Europe.

Joining Shabita in the UK headquarters is Dean Trussler who will serve as Kenyon’s Head of Crisis Management Centre and Preparedness. A former Marine, Dean has spent the last 20 years as an Emergency Planner, Consultant and Business Continuity & Resilience Manager, working with a number of Local Authorities, media organisations and Gama Aviation. Dean brings significant experience of designing and operating emergency planning, policies and management. He moves to Kenyon from his most recent position as Head of Emergency Planning and Operational Resilience at the George Eliot Hospital, Warwickshire.

Kenyon Emergency Services has over 117 years’ experience of successfully navigating and managing complex international crises, including setting up and staffing the Family Assistance Centre in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. It also provided communications support during a major aviation incident, efficiently responding to the plethora of family and media enquiries with care and tact. As a leader in its field, Kenyon is committed to constantly strengthening its team and service offering, including growing its international crisis communications offering.

Bolstering the company’s crisis communications team is the appointment of Susan Brown as Kenyon’s new Vice President of Crisis Communications. Based in California, USA, she will work in partnership with UK-based Vice President of Crisis Communications, Donald Steel, to drive the team’s full range of crisis communications services around the globe. Susan is a seasoned communications specialist, having worked internationally in corporate communications with a focus on issues and crisis response, as well as risk and contingency planning for more than 25 years. 

Her long-standing career includes work in the aviation industry having held worldwide responsibility for public relations and crisis communications for Emirates Airline and Group of 50+ subsidiary companies in Dubai, as well as for aviation IT technology company SITA, based in Geneva.

To further support and develop the crisis communication team’s capabilities in the United States, Kenyon Emergency Services has also appointed three new Associate Crisis Communications Directors.

Rick Martin joins the team with a distinguished journalistic background, having served as a Senior News Editor and a Field Producer at CNN, working with the likes of Anderson Cooper and Wolf Blitzer. He has since worked in local emergency planning, making him an experienced communicator in emergency and crisis situations.

Arielle Sklar is a Senior Communicator at Yale New Haven Health System. Her work in different healthcare settings has been focused on public health, research and patient-centred narratives. She has worked closely with families of patients facing life-changing events, making her a strong addition to the team.

UK-born Eleanor Bancroft has served in many communications roles throughout her career. Beginning her career at the BBC in London, she was also Communications Manager at OFCOM, the UK media, telecoms and internet regulator. Since moving to the US, Eleanor worked in financial crime analysis as well as non-profits before joining 3AM Innovations, a tech company specialising in solutions for first responders.

Kenyon’s crisis communications directors offer clients immediate incident response worldwide as well as providing media and communications training, incident rehearsal and crisis planning audit and review.  With directors based in Sydney, Singapore, Beijing, Beirut, Dubai, Helsinki, London, Madrid, Brussels and Nevada, they offer immediate in person or remote support in major incidents. The experience across the team includes aviation, terrorism, kidnapping, major fires, cyber and natural disaster.

The appointments come as Kenyon Emergency Services unveiled its newly innovated website, making it even easier for potential clients to access the company’s leading consultancy services and training programmes.

Jonathan Astill, Executive Vice President and Managing Director of Services, Air Partner commented: “Kenyon Emergency Services has a proud legacy of delivering best-in-class emergency and crisis support. We are delighted to welcome our new team members, each of whom brings significant skills and experience to offer our clients. To have such experienced professionals join us is a great reflection of the ever-growing talent of our global team. These exciting appointments, combined with the redesigned website, will serve to strengthen Kenyon’s service offering.”

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