The Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) has named Suzanne Neufang as the new executive director after a months-long search.
“Suzanne is unquestionably the visionary to lead business travel to a complete recovery in the years ahead,” says GBTA president, Bhart Sarin. “It will be a distinct privilege to support her as we complete our integration of GBTA and ACTE and build on the momentum of the Ready. Safe. Travel. campaign toward our annual convention in July.”
Neufang was chosen by an independent search committee out of more than 130 candidates from around the world. She takes over from Dave Hilfman, who has served as the association’s interim executive director since July 2020. Hilfman will remain with GBTA in a temporary consulting role to smooth the transition.
“Stepping aside for Suzanne is easy because she understands business travel from the buyer and supplier perspectives like few people I’ve ever met,” says Hilfman, who retired from United Airlines as senior vice-president of worldwide sales in 2018.
Neufang’s diverse executive career includes senior leadership roles with several high-profile travel and technology companies. 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 Fortune 500 software giant, Intuit. Most recently, Neufang served as senior vice-president, Americas, for HRS Global Hotel Solutions.
Neufang described the opportunity to lead GBTA as a “pinnacle career opportunity,” and an important way to give back to an industry she loves.
“It’s not a secret that business travel is at a historic low point as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic but in crises we find opportunities to be bold and to excel,” she says. “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.”
Neufang assumes her new role Feb. 24, and will oversee both the world’s largest business travel association and the Association of Corporate Travel Executives (ACTE), which GBTA acquired late last year.
Neufang has been a member of GBTA since 2005. Her involvement in ACTE includes serving as board president from 2012-2014, and as a board member from 2014-2018. She also was ACTE’s interim executive director during summer 2012.