News From GBTA & ACTE

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There’s a lot happening with the two major corporate travel associations, including the closure of the Association of Corporate Travel Executives (ACTE) and a reshuffling of leadership at The
Global Business Travel Association (GBTA).

Here’s the latest news from ACTE and GBTA:

It’s official: ACTE has gone out of business. The association had members in more than 100 countries and hosted more than 30,000 attendees at its events each year.

The board announced last week that the association has filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy and ceased operations. A statement on the web site reads: “The dual impacts of the cancellation of our Asia conference due to the security situation in Hong Kong as well as the COVID-19 pandemic cancellations have been blows that, as a small non-profit association, ACTE has not been able to withstand.

“The employees and board members of ACTE have worked tirelessly to reduce costs and find a home for the ACTE community within a larger organization. Our discussions have been broad and deep with strong indication that we would be successful, but recent COVID-19 spikes have made investors and partners justifiably pessimistic around the viability of event-based organizations for some time to come. At this stage, the fiscally and morally responsible next step for us is to cease operations and defer to a trustee to determine the distribution of payments to creditors.”

Meanwhile, GBTA has named travel industry leader Dave Hilfman as its interim executive director. Hilfman, former senior vice president of worldwide sales at United Airlines, was honored in 2017 with GBTA’s ICON Award, which recognizes leaders whose contributions further advance the corporate travel industry.

Hilfman has brought in MCI, a top consulting group serving member-based non-profit organizations, to do an analysis of the organization. “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,” he said.

Just three months after his appointment to the CEO position at GBTA, Scott Solombrino was put on administrative leave after a whistleblower complaint accused him of “creating hostile working surroundings for women and racial minorities.” Solombrino had been promoted in May after holding the position of chief operating officer for one year.

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Barbara Scofidio is Editor of Prevue and heads up the Visionary Summits, our exclusive conference series targeting senior-level meeting and incentive planners. In her 30 years in the industry, she has become known for her passion around greening meetings, growing awareness of human trafficking and promoting CSR activities as part of business events. She is currently a member of SITE's Women IN Leadership committee and the media liaison for FICP's Education Committee. She was the first member of the media ever to be invited to sit on a committee by GBTA, where she spent three years on the Groups and Meetings Committee. She has also been an active member of SITE for 30 years, chairing its Crystal Awards committee and acting as a judge. Before joining Prevue in 2014, she served as Editor of Corporate Meetings & Incentives (MeetingsNet) for more than 20 years. She has a BA in Literature/Rhetoric from Binghamton University. Barbara is based outside Boston, in Groton, Mass.