If there was one person who could truly be called an icon of the travel industry, it was Gordon ‘Butch’ Stewart.
ALEXANDRIA, VA — The Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) has retained a consulting firm to provide a complete audit of the organization.
The news comes less than a month after the GBTA and its Board of Directors placed CEO Scott Solombrino on administrative leave and confirmed that further investigations were underway, following allegations of misconduct.
According to reports, an anonymous letter signed by ‘GBTA Former and Current Staff’ was distributed outlining several alleged misdeeds made by CEO Solombrino, which range from making derogatory comments and excessive expenses, to creating a hostile work environment for women and racial minorities.
GBTA says it has now engaged MCI USA, one of the U.S.’s top consulting groups serving member-based non-profit organizations, “to provide a 360-degree organizational and operations audit designed to reset the Association and ensure GBTA’s success in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Dave Hilfman, the Association’s interim Executive Director, says it’s been “a turbulent few months” for the business travel industry and for GBTA.
“It’s an unprecedented time that underscores our need to make sure we’re firing on all cylinders,” Hilfman. “MCI USA is best-in-class when it comes to analyzing non-profit, member-driven associations like GBTA. We’ve retained them to look at every aspect of what we do, from the role of the Board to operations, staffing and human resources, IT, event management and marketing. Our goal is to emerge from the pandemic in the best possible position to serve our members as the leading voice of the global business travel industry.”
The review, now underway, will continue for at least the next three months and will culminate in the development of a clear action plan for GBTA moving forward.
Hilfman says more than a dozen senior business executives will be a part of the MCI USA team examining GBTA’s operations, policies, revenues and growth possibilities, along with the return on investment the Association provides its members.
“We may not be able to control the present moment and the downward pressure it has created for GBTA and so many of our members,” said Hilfman. “What we can control is our future. We need to take positive action to make sure we have the right business model, the right culture and that we’re doing what we need to do to best serve travel buyers and suppliers. MCI USA is going to help make sure we’re doing everything that needs to be done.”