American Express Global Business Travel is restructuring to focus on small and medium-sized companies, with layoffs expected in the first half of the year.
Job losses are expected to be less than 2 percent.
Amex GBT announced the overhaul internally on Tuesday, and expects to incur restructuring and related charges of $20 million to $25 million, which represent future cash expenditures for the payment of severance and related benefits costs, it said in a filing with U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on Wednesday.
The overhaul comes as layoffs start to ripple through the travel industry. Vacasa on Tuesday said it was slashing 17 percent of its workforce, while Inspirato is reducing its number of staff by 12 percent as it struggles with lower-than-expected occupancy and disappointing sales.
Technology companies have also announced redundancies, including Google which last week said it was axing 12,000 roles.
Now Amex GBT, the world’s biggest corporate travel agency, will set up a new operating model to “intensify our entire organizational focus around meeting customers’ needs in our global and multinational, and small and medium-sized enterprises portfolios,” it said in the filing.
“We are taking our strategy to the next level,” said Martin Ferguson, the agency’s vice president of public affairs. “We are in a $1.4 trillion global industry and have a significant opportunity to grow our business and deliver unrivalled value to customers. Having market-leading solutions for each of the segments we serve has put us in a very strong position. To accelerate growth, drive consistency and deliver unrivalled value to customers, we are moving to a global, segment-driven model.”
The company has made several acquisitions of smaller agencies over the years, including Egencia and Ovation Travel, while in 2021 it launched a new booking and expense tool, Neo1, to target smaller companies.
During an investor day presentation in 2022, Amex GBT repeated its intent to pursue the small and medium-sized enterprise market, including companies without an official company travel program. That market is worth $675 billion in annual global travel spend, and at the time Amex GBT said it had just 6 percent of that particular slice.
The restructure, which will see Jason Geall become executive vice president, small and medium-sized enterprises, and David Reimer move to executive vice president of global, multinational, is due to be completed by the end of the second quarter this year.
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