AFTA Chair Tom Manwaring called Rudd an "outstanding choice, with a wealth of experience across business and stakeholder management".
"The skills and networks he brings to the role will be invaluable as we navigate the new and emerging industry landscape," he said.
Rudd, who takes up the role from 29 June, was most recently Head of Corporate Affairs in Australia and New Zealand for information services business Tata Consultancy Services, where he spent four years.
He also worked for 11 years as Services Business Group General Manager Asia/Pacific at Alcatel-Lucent and five years as Lead Corporate Affairs Manager at NBN.
"Darren’s track record in successfully mapping and implementing campaigns that deliver results, his commitment to harnessing the immense power of our AFTA members through targeted grassroots activation, and his ability to identify and convert opportunities into real advantage were instrumental in him being selected for the role. The AFTA team, family and Board are excited to welcome him aboard," Mr Manwaring added.
Rudd said it was is "an honour to join AFTA at this critical time".
"I look forward to working with members, the Board and industry stakeholders as we work our way through the current economic difficulties and the challenges that lie ahead," stated Rudd, who began his career as CEO at Hotel Information Systems (HIS/IBM) in Hong Kong.
"The future is very different to that which we imagined 6 months ago. Yet travel and tourism remain cornerstones of the Australian economy."
"It is important that governments and regulators understand that getting the policy and regulatory settings right will not only help the sector but contribute substantially to the nation’s overall economic well being."
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