Travelport announced today that Kurt Ekert, currently chief operating officer for GTA by Travelport, will succeed Armin Meier to the position of chief commercial officer, Travelport GDS in accordance with a transition plan. The plan has been activated following Armin Meier’s decision to pursue a new business venture outside the travel industry.
Ekert will assume the role of chief commercial officer designate on June 1 2010, gradually assuming global responsibility for customer engagement, sales, sourcing, and commercial operations for Travelport GDS, comprising the Galileo and Worldspan brands. Ekert will report directly to Gordon Wilson, deputy CEO, Travelport, and will work closely with Armin Meier to ensure an orderly transition of responsibilities.
“I’m delighted that we are able to call upon an executive of Kurt’s caliber to take up the reins as our chief commercial officer designate,” said Gordon Wilson, deputy CEO, Travelport. “Kurt is a truly international executive with a track record of winning business and delivering outstanding customer service. He has led both business-to-business and consumer-facing operations throughout his 14-year career in the travel industry, combining strong strategic insight with a hands-on, make-it-happen approach. It’s great to have him on the team.”
Commenting on Armin Meier’s announced departure, Gordon Wilson said: “Armin has made a significant contribution to Travelport over the past two years, leading the expansion and continuing enhancement of our global commercial operations, for which I thank him. His plan to own and operate his own business outside of the travel space and based in his home country is a very exciting next step in his career, for which we wish him the greatest success.”
In his current role as chief operating officer, GTA by Travelport, Kurt Ekert leads GTA’s global operations and sourcing/content, as well as all elements of its online consumer business, OctopusTravel.com. Previously, Ekert was senior vice president and general manager, GTA Americas and OctopusTravel.com. Prior to GTA, Ekert was senior vice president, Travelport Supplier Services Americas, where he oversaw supplier services and content for the Travelport Americas business and consumer groups including Galileo, Orbitz.com, and CheapTickets.com.
Earlier, he held the positions of group vice president, strategy and business development, and chief operating officer, Travelport for Business. Ekert’s experience in the travel industry also includes a number of senior finance roles at Continental Airlines.
Ekert holds a bachelor of science degree from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and an MBA from the University of South Carolina. He sits on the board of directors of Passur Aerospace, Inc., a provider of business intelligence and predictive analytics solutions for aviation organizations. He also sits on the research advisory board of the Cornell University Hotel School.