Sabre announces CEO succession plan

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SeoulSabre has announced that Sean Menke, currently chairman of the company’s board and its CEO, will transition to be solely Sabre’s executive chair of the board, effective 27 April. At that time, Kurt Ekert, currently president of Sabre, will also become the company’s CEO. Ekert has also been nominated as a director for election at Sabre’s 2023 annual meeting, to be held on 26 April. These moves are being made as part of the company’s and the board of directors’ ongoing succession planning.

Menke joined Sabre in 2015 serving as president of its largest business division, before being promoted to CEO in late 2016. Under Menke’s leadership, the company set out, and executed against, bold plans to reimagine the future of travel enabled by its technology transformation, key strategic partnerships and building a leadership team to deliver that vision.

Regarding the next phase in Sabre’s leadership transition, Menke said, “It has been an honuor and privilege to help lead Sabre over the last eight years. I am proud of what our teams have accomplished and how we’ve served our customers during unprecedented times. It has been immensely gratifying to see the dedication and success of our team, as Sabre continues to transform itself to become the trusted, and preferred, technology partner in travel. I look forward to transitioning into the role of executive chair and welcome Kurt as our new chief executive officer. He’s been a driving force at Sabre over the past fourteen months and I am confident he will continue to successfully lead this organization into the future.”

Ekert joined Sabre in January 2022 as president as part of the company’s long-term succession plans, as it split the role of president and CEO. Ekert oversees all aspects of the company’s business and technology operations. Over the last year, Ekert developed new growth strategies and successfully executed against the company’s operating plans, including successfully reorganizing its Travel Solutions business, implementing robust operating principles to enable faster and more efficient execution, and putting a refined leadership team in place.

Gregg Saretsky will continue to serve in the role as independent lead director of the board,  providing an effective balance between strong strategic leadership and oversight by independent directors. 

Saretsky said, “I know I speak on behalf of Sabre’s entire board of directors when I say that Sean has been an incredibly strong and successful leader over the last eight years, especially in those unprecedented moments during the global pandemic. He leaves behind a tremendous legacy, including an ambitious multi-year strategy that the leadership team will continue to move forward. We thank Sean for his outstanding leadership and service and are pleased to continue to serve alongside him as executive chair. We look forward to having Kurt join the board as he steps into the chief executive officer role at the company. He is a strong, forward-focused leader with the experience, operational and technical acumen and industry perspective to successfully execute Sabre’s strategic plans.”

Ekert said “I am proud to be stepping into the CEO role at Sabre and eager to continue to advance our strategy while fostering a winning culture of empowerment, innovation and performance. I look forward to leading this company through its next chapter and am confident we have the ability to meaningfully grow our business and deliver long-term shareholder value.”

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