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American Express GBT appoints Paul Abbott as new CEO

American Express Global Business Travel (GBT) has appointed Paul Abbott as chief executive as Doug Anderson prepares to step down after three years at the helm.

Abbott is currently chief commercial officer of global commercial services, American Express’s global B2B payments business. Abbott has also served on the GBT board for the last four years.

He brings 18 years’ experience in the travel industry, having started his career at British Airways and worked in the corporate travel business of American Express, where has spent the last 24 years.

Anderson led GBT during its acquisition of HRG last year, as well as the purchases of German firm DER Business Travel and Kanoo Travel in the Middle East.

Commenting on the leadership change, Greg O’Hara, executive chairman of the GBT board, said: “Over the past three years, GBT accomplished its technology transformation, M&A/integration plans and commercial growth goals while delivering record performance and achieving clear status as the world’s leading business partner for managed travel. Doug steered GBT through the acquisition of HRG last year, which was the industry’s largest ever, as well as a full cultural transformation that has led to 18,000 of the most engaged team members in the business. He leaves GBT in an outstanding place to build on its strengths as it continues to invest in a bright future.”

Abbott said: “It is a privilege to lead a talented team committed to delivering exceptional service and investing significantly in growth and technology-led innovation. I look forward to engaging with colleagues, customers and suppliers as we collaborate to advance the business travel experience together.”

O’Hara added: “At American Express, Paul has led the rapid expansion of the B2B payments business around the world and introduced innovative new products and services for businesses of all sizes. This track record, combined with his experience in travel and background on the GBT board, make him the ideal person to lead GBT going forward. Equally important, Paul has a well-deserved reputation for developing diverse, high-performing teams that embrace change, deliver strong results and have an intense focus on building enduring relationships with customers. We are thrilled to welcome him to GBT as CEO.”

Abbott will take up his new role on 1 October, with Anderson staying on to advise GBT during a transition period.