The Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) has appointed Suzanne Neufang as its next executive director, leading the combined GBTA and the Association of Corporate Travel Executives (ACTE).
Neufang was hired after a comprehensive review of more than 130 candidates from around the world, according to the association. The months-long process was led by an independent search committee of industry leaders and staff. The search was coordinated by association consulting firm MCI-USA, which served as a third-party hub to screen applicants and facilitate the extensive interview process.
Neufang, whose executive career has included senior leadership roles with several travel and technology companies, most recently served as SVP-Americas for HRS Global Hotel Solutions. Before HRS, she worked for 10 years as an executive leader with Sabre Travel Network, GetThere and Travelocity, and later as a divisional chief marketing officer for Intuit. An active member of GBTA since 2005, Neufang led ACTE as board president from 2012-2014 and as a board member from 2014-2018. She served as ACTE’s interim executive director during summer 2012.
In a communication to GBTA members, Neufang described the opportunity to lead the association as a “pinnacle career opportunity” and an important way to give back to an industry she loves, and which has offered her many opportunities. “It’s not a secret that business travel is at an historic low point as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, but in crises we find opportunities to be bold and to excel,” she said. “Business travel has been down before and we have recovered—always coming back more technologically savvy, data-focused and globally connected. The key questions for me are when we as an industry will recover, and how we as GBTA can drive economic and industry recovery to be even faster.”
She continued, “We need to emerge from this pandemic as a healthier, more transparent association, one with the strongest possible, globally focused foundation. As an organization, I believe we can work together to provide more value, better education and research, and even more effective advocacy for our members and sponsors. I’m very much looking forward to working with the professional staff at GBTA—and the board, members, sponsors and regional partners—who have had a long track record of growth and success serving the business travel community.”
Neufang assumed her position Feb. 24 from Dave Hilfman, who since July 2020 has served as the association’s interim executive director. Hilfman will remain with GBTA in a temporary consulting role to smooth the transition.
“It’s been a privilege serving the business travel industry in this interim role over the past eight months and I’m grateful for the opportunity,” said Hilfman, who retired from United Airlines as SVP of worldwide sales in 2018. “To be entrusted to lead the largest business travel association in the world at a truly consequential moment in our history is a true honor. I’m proud of the work we’ve done together and the significant progress made to date. My sincere thanks to the staff, board and members of GBTA for all their support. Stepping aside for Suzanne is easy, because she understands business travel from the buyer and supplier perspectives like few people I’ve ever met.”