IT in travel
New chief for Galileo Mideast
Gordon Wilson has been named as the executive vice president and managing director of Galileo's Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region, based at the regional headquarters in Windsor, UK.EMEA represents the largest single region for Galileo in terms of revenues and travel bookings generated and spans more than 80 countries, through a mix of wholly owned subsidiaries and distributors. Wilson has also served as vice president, for Galileo's Customer Service Delivery based in Denver, USA, where he was responsible for global field services, first and second level service centres and global logistics. In 1996, he was seconded to South African Airways to run Galileo Southern Africa, the third largest business for Galileo in the EMEA region, where he pioneered the introduction of TCP/IP with Galileo's Focalpoint 3.5 and a series of value-added network services to Galileo users in the region. Prior to this, Wilson served as managing director of Galileo Iberia, covering the Spanish and Portuguese markets, and general manager of Worldwide Airline Sales and Marketing, taking Galileo to an industry-leading position in terms of airline participation and direct access airline system links. Before joining Galileo International in 1991, Wilson held a number of positions in the UK airline and chemical industries. Wilson's appointment follows the completion of Galileo International's acquisition by Cendant Corporation for approximately $1.8 billion in common stock and cash. New York-based Cendant also assumed approximately $550 million of Galileo net debt, which it will retire, the companies said in a statement. Mark Miller, formerly president and chief operating officer of Cendant's travel division, was appointed president and chief executive officer of Galileo, while Samuel L Katz, chairman and CEO of Cendant's travel distribution division, has taken on the additional role of Galileo chairman. Cendant expects the transaction to be accretive to its earnings per share beginning in the fourth quarter of 2001, and significantly more accretive as air travel approaches levels experienced prior to the events of September 11. The travel distribution division has three principal components: Reservations transactions systems provider WizCom, which handles reservations for more than 115 hotel and car rental chains in over 40 countries; Cendant's travel agency business; and now Galileo. It is also anticipated that the off-line operations of Cheap Tickets, Inc. will be added to the division when that acquisition closes. Quantitude, Galileo's telecommunications network services provider, has been combined with Cendant's telecommunications group, and THOR, also a Galileo subsidiary, offering discounted hotel rate programs to more than 15,000 travel agencies, is being integrated with Cendant's travel agency business. The company also announced that Travel Portal, Inc. (TPI), an affiliate of Cendant is acquiring the licensing rights to Galileo's TRIP.com on-line travel service. "The near term impact of the events of September 11 on Galileo's earnings does not make its acquisition any less strategic, and we remain excited by the prospects that the addition of Galileo creates for Cendant," said Katz. "Our underlying objective is to provide value-added services to businesses and consumers around the world, primarily within the travel and residential real estate sectors."