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Travelport Restructures its Commercial Organisation

Travel News Asia Latest Travel News Podcasts Videos Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Travelport is restructuring its Airline IT Solutions (AITS) and realigning the operating structure of its Commercial GDS function. Travelport’s Commercial teams in both its GDS and AITS divisions will be integrated under Kurt Ekert, Chief Commercial Officer.

AITS provides hosting and/or IT software services to leading global airlines such as Delta, United Airlines, Emirates and Air New Zealand, as well as to other providers of airline IT such as TravelSky of China and SITA, and was previously led by Sue Powers. Powers has decided to retire, having spent over 30 years working in the industry for a number of organisations including United Airlines, Covia (Apollo), Worldspan and Travelport.

Former Hewlett Packard executive, Derek Sharp, will lead Travelport’s AITS commercial team in the new structure. Sharp recently joined the company from HP where he held a number of senior strategy, account management and commercial roles. He also has extensive experience in the travel and transportation sector from his work at EDS prior to its acquisition by HP.

All IT application development will be integrated under the leadership of Chief Information Officer, Mark Ryan, supporting Travelport’s commitment to ongoing modernisation of its technology environment and delivery of next generation travel transaction processing systems and an industry-leading airline IT suite.

Earlier in the year, Travelport announced a significant multi-million dollar (US) investment in next generation software, and an upgrade to the IBM z/Transaction Processing Facility (zTPF), enabling it to more than double the information it processes in 160 countries and providing one of the most stable and secure technology environments in the travel industry.

Within the Travelport Commercial team specialised in GDS sales and services, the following changes have also been confirmed:

- Bryan Conway will head up the company’s global commercial operations function;
- Rabih Saab is appointed President and Managing Director for the Middle East and Africa;
- Jason Clarke is appointed President and Managing Director for Europe;
-Jon Hall is appointed to the position of President, Corporate Sales.

Bryan Conway, currently President and Managing Director, Middle East and Africa, and one of Travelport’s most experienced leaders, will become Senior Vice President, Global Commercial Operations. In this role, he will assume primary ownership for the deployment of Travelport’s new products - Travelport Universal Desktop, Travelport e-Pricing and Travelport Universal API - as well as taking global responsibility for customer service and support. He will also own Travelport’s global strategy for airlines and other customers for whom Travelport provides vital global distribution services.

As a result of this appointment, Rabih Saab, who has recently led the successful set up of Travelport’s new direct operations in the Middle East, has been appointed President and Managing Director for the MEA region.

Jason Clarke, currently heading up global operations, has been appointed President and Managing Director for Europe, replacing Olaf Gueldner who has decided to leave Travelport. Clarke has broad experience in customer service and support gained through his most recent position as well as other high profile roles within the business, including running the company’s operations in the UK and Ireland, Spain, Benelux and France.

Jon Hall, who joined Travelport in March 2008, has been appointed President, Corporate Sales. He will lead the Travelport team which engages directly with corporate travel buyers for on-line corporate booking tools such as Traversa, and other software and services developed for the corporate travel sector and provided through Travelport’s third party technology partnerships.

Sharp, Conway, Saab, Clarke and Hall will all report into Chief Commercial Officer, Kurt Ekert, alongside Travis Christ who runs Travelport’s Americas region, Simon Nowroz who runs the Asia Pacific region, Sandra McLeod who leads Global Travel Management Accounts and Niklas Andréen, who was recently appointed to the post of Group Vice President Hospitality and Partner Marketing.

“These changes enable an even tighter alignment of Travelport around the commercial objectives of our customers. They will also better enable Travelport to commence the large scale introduction of its new products, in which we have made considerable investment this year, such as the Travelport Universal Desktop, Travelport Universal API and Travelport e-Pricing. Our airline IT customers are also now able to take advantage of a more holistic offering as we leverage our recent IT investments,” said Gordon Wilson, Deputy Group CEO of Travelport. “On both a personal and professional level, I would like to thank Sue and Olaf for their notable contribution and commitment to our business. Sue specifically for her role in growing our AITS business, and, prior to that, operating as CIO for Travelport and Olaf for his contribution to our market leading position in many European countries. I wish Sue the very best for a long and healthy retirement and Olaf every success in his future career.”

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