Quark Expeditions was founded in 1991 by Lars Wikander and Mike McDowell, specializing in expeditions to the Arctic and Antarctic aboard purpose-built expedition vessels. In 1998, Lars Wikander became the majority owner of the company. Three years later Lars became Chairman of the Board, when Patrick Shaw joined the company as President and Chief Executive Officer. On May 1, 2007, Quark Expeditions became part of the UK-based TUI Travel PLC Group of Companies. Hans Lagerweij is the current President and CEO of Quark Expeditions.