Skift Take

A slightly abrupt announcement as Kurt Ekert steps down just days before the appointment of a new CEO. This news doesn't bode well.

Travel management giant CWT has abruptly switched its CEO, with Kurt Ekert stepping down. Michelle McKinney Frymire, currently its president, strategy and transformation, and its chief financial officer, takes the helm on May 1, 2021.

Michelle McKinney Frymire, becomes CEO of CWT on May 1, 2021.Picture: CWT

Michelle McKinney Frymire, becomes CEO of CWT on May 1, 2021.Picture: CWT

Frymire joined CWT in 2019, and was previously chief financial officer at Starwood Vacation Ownership and Delta Technology, as well as Continental Airlines and Delta Air Lines. She has also held senior executive positions at several private equity firms.

Making the announcement, CWT said it had won $7 billion of new business over the past five years, but more recently has been restructuring to offset lower revenues due to the pandemic.

Frymire has been playing a role in developing the agency’s technology strategy, in particular rolling out its messaging platform in China.

“Our China myCWT launched in January 2020, and the adoption has been incredible because of its integration with WeChat and WeChat Pay,” she said in an interview with Skift in January this year.

“I am delighted to welcome Michelle to the role of leading our company into the next phase of our development, building on the successes of recent years*, and continuing to push us into achieving our true potential,” said Rick Gage, Chair of CWT’s parent company, CTII Holdings, Inc. “As a natural development in our succession planning, I am also pleased that Kurt will remain an advisor to CWT, and I thank him for his leadership and impact.”


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Tags: corporate travel, cwt, delta, starwood, travel management

Photo credit: CWT is one of the largest global corporate travel agencies. Thomas Hawk / Flickr

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