ACTE Global :: Association of Corporate Travel Executives

Creating meaningful dialogue since 1988 through education, advocacy and research for the global corporate travel community.

Board of Directors Biographies: Officers

Kurt Knackstedt

Kurt Knackstedt
Chief Executive Officer

Level 8, 66 Goulburn Street
Sydney NSW 2000 Australia
M: +61 418 598 658

In early 2015, Kurt was appointed CEO of Troovo, a newly launched technology company focused on driving greater efficiency and automation of transaction-based industries. Troovo’s approach to automation is flexible, nimble and collaborative, helping to increase customer profitability through lower operational costs. Based out of Sydney, Australia, Troovo is working with companies around the world to help streamline transactional processing and integrate multiple data streams for maximum business productivity.

In January 2014, Kurt assumed the role of President of the Association of Corporate Travel Executives (ACTE). ACTE is the leading industry body for advocacy, research and education for the global corporate travel industry.

As President, Kurt is the senior volunteer leader of ACTE and serves at the order of the Board and the membership. The President is the Chair of both the Board of Directors and the Executive Committee. The President also has general supervision of all business and affairs of the Association and gives direction and inertia to the formulation and achievement of the Associations philosophy, mission, strategy and goals, and also serves as primary spokesperson. Kurt’s term runs through the end of 2017.

Prior to Troovo, Kurt was with global mining giant Rio Tinto as the Global Category Leader for Travel and Expense Management. In this role based in Singapore, Kurt led Rio Tinto’s global Travel and Expense strategy with key suppliers focusing on improving the total Rio Tinto travel experience. He had global responsibility for travel management, strategic airline, hotel and car sourcing strategies, and driving best practice in corporate card and expense management processes and systems.

Before joining Rio Tinto, Kurt was Principal of consulting, a consultancy devoted to assisting corporations, technology companies, travel suppliers and agents, and travel management companies get the most out of their technology and product solutions, supplier engagements, social media and marketing plans, and strategic development efforts.

Prior to his consultancy, Kurt was Vice President and Head of Advisory Services, Field Effectiveness, Marketing and Product Management, Asia Pacific, at American Express Business Travel in Sydney. In that role, Kurt drove a regionally-focused approach to these four core disciplines, to deliver optimum customer value and revenue growth to the business.

Prior to joining American Express, Kurt held roles at Travelport Corporate Travel Solutions as Senior Director, International Markets, responsible for strategic development, marketing, partnership activity and relationship management, based out of the UK. Prior to that he was Director of Product Management and Marketing, Asia Pacific for Travelport splitting his time between Sydney and Hong Kong. Kurt began his corporate travel industry career at Rosenbluth International in Philadelphia, USA, in product management, marketing and strategy roles, culminating in his appointment as Director, Global Marketing - Strategic Travel Services.

Kurt holds a Bachelor of Science Degree from Indiana University, USA.

Kurt is based in Sydney, Australia and is a dual citizen of the USA and Australia.

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Leigh Bochicchio

Leigh Bochicchio
Vice President, Strategy and Operations, Product Management Excellence

2000 Purchase Street
Purchase, NY 10577-2509
United States
Tel: 1-914-249-3692
Fax: 1-914-249-4224

Leigh Bochicchio is Vice President at Mastercard, where she is responsible for the organization’s product management discipline globally. She brings 20 years of industry and consulting experience. Prior to her current role, she was responsible for the Mastercard learning strategy for the Global Products & Services organization. Previously, she spent 4 years at Galileo International and was responsible for sales and account management for the Travel Distribution Services' on-line strategy, as well as sales support, technology, training and resources. Leigh started her career at American Express Travel Related Services where she worked in Corporate Services, Business Travel, and the Six Sigma Office. She has served on the ACTE Board as the Nominating Committee Chair for the last 5 years.

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Greeley Koch

Chief Staff Officer
Greeley Koch
Executive Director
Association of Corporate Travel Executives

510 King Street, Suite 220
Alexandria, VA 22314
United States
Tel: 1-703-683-5322 ext. 204
Fax: 1-703-683-2720

Koch, was most recently Director, Strategy Development at Acquis Consulting Group, a boutique consulting firm, and is a veteran business executive with more than 20 years of experience in the corporate travel industry. He has held positions in all of the sectors that make up ACTE’s membership and interests, including government, corporate buyers and suppliers and consulting, which gives him the ability to bring together all the necessary viewpoints. Koch has held positions with the Office of the Governor of Illinois, Abbott Laboratories, Bank of America, TQ3Navigant, TRX, Inc. and most recently Acquis. Additionally, he has been an integral member of ACTE on a volunteer basis since 2000, including Chairman of the ACTE Global Centre for Research & Education and President of Board of Directors.

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Lori O’Connell

Lori O’Connell
Senior Director, Travel & Meetings

3109 W. Dr. Martin Luther King Boulevard
Tampa, FL 33109
United States
Tel: 1-813-351-2459

Lori is currently a Senior Director, Finance, with PricewaterhouseCoopers. She joined PwC in 2008, and has responsibility for the strategic vision and effective operations of the firm's US Travel and Meeting and Event Services programs.

Lori has been a travel industry professional for the past 28 years. She spent the first 10 years in the industry focused on leisure travel, and the past 18 have been dedicated to business travel.

Prior to joining PwC, Lori worked for several well known travel management companies, including American Express Business Travel, Carlson Wagonlit, and Rosenbluth International. She has held numerous positions, including operations, account management, and global client management.

Lori's experiences on both the supplier and buyer side have given her a holistic view of the challenges and opportunities in the business travel space, and allows her to strike the right balance between cost management and the customer experience.

Lori is very active in the business travel community. She recently served as the Vice President, Tampa Bay Business Travel Association. She has participated as a panelist during numerous industry conferences. She is a CCTE, and is also Six Sigma Green Belt certified. She has been very active in ACTE over the last several years, participating in the steering committee for the April 2011 global conference in New York, leading a session at the Executive Forum in Washington, DC in 2010, and assisting with the World Café.

On a personal note, Lori lives in Palm Harbor, Florida. She has a dog and a cat, a 20 year old son, was married to the most wonderful man imaginable in July of 2009, enjoys yoga, hiking, scuba diving, reading, and, of course, traveling to new destinations!

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Board of Directors Biographies: Board Members

Todd Arthur

Todd W. Arthur
Vice President
Sabre Travel Network Asia Pacific

M: +65 9653 2863

Todd Arthur is the vice president of sales and market development for Sabre Travel Network Asia Pacific. In this role, Todd is responsible for sales performance across Asia Pacific and the retention and organic growth of both local and global accounts. He also works closely with Sabre’s product and technology teams to drive customer-centric solution deployment in Asia Pacific.

Before being named vice president for Sabre Travel Network APAC, Todd was Managing Director for HRS in Asia Pacific, responsible for strategic business planning and partnership development, talent development and regional growth. Working in the corporate travel industry for two decades, Todd has served in senior management and business development roles spanning Asia and North America for companies including BCD Travel, Advito, Finnair and Malaysia Airlines.

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Dirk Baerts

Dirk Baerts

Toronto, ON
Tel: 1-416.364.3511 x 4496
M: 1-416.949-2593

Dirk Baerts serves as President of MeritBiz, the corporate travel management arm of Merit Travel Group. Jointly owned by the Canadian Merrithew family and Tokyo-based H.I.S. Co. Ltd, the travel companies of Merit Travel Group comprised one of the largest global travel networks in the world. As President, Dirk manages the MeritBiz P&L and teams. He is also actively involved in the global expansion of the MeritBiz programs, working closely with the H.I.S.-Merit Travel leadership team on acquisitions and partnering initiatives with the local management at more than 200 wholly-owned H.I.S. Travel locations outside Japan.

Prior to joining MeritBiz, Baerts served as managing director at Egencia Canada Corp., based in Mississauga, Ontario, where he was responsible for the company’s travel management services in Canada and for its Meetings & Incentive operations in North America.

Before his Canadian-based appointment in 2011, Dirk held the position of country manager for Egencia Belgium, based in its Brussels office for two years directly following his appointment as sales director in 2008.

Prior to joining Egencia, Dirk worked in the technology industry for more than 15 years, holding several management positions at leading technology companies, in Europe, Asia and Japan.

Dirk holds an Executive M.B.A. and a Master in Commercial Engineering, both from the University of Antwerp in Belgium.

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Roland Bunge

Middle East & Africa
Roland Bunge
Country Manager, Egypt
Carlson Wagonlit Travel

3, Isis Street, 11341
Cairo, Egypt
Tel: +20 (0)2 2417 5802
Fax: +20 (0)2 2417 5847

The business travel industry in the Middle East and Africa Region is facing unprecedented challenges in a changing global travel environment as in the rest of the world. While ACTE has been active in this region, much still needs to be done.

My personal goal in representing the Middle East and Africa Region would be to work on strategic initiatives that will enable ACTE to continuously provide added value, networking and information for our industry, our companies, and our members' abilities to accomplish their goals. I am confident that my skills and qualifications as a professional in the travel industry, combined with my responsibilities at Kanoo Travel, a well-known travel company, will foster my ability to assist ACTE in its mission of providing regional leadership for the advancement of the business travel industry.

With over 20 years of experience in the airline and travel industry, I have held positions in corporate and leisure, including distribution, sales and supplier-focused roles, in South Africa, Egypt and the Middle East. In this time, I have been:
Member of ACTE South Africa, and was a member of the Steering Committee to set up ACTE there
Member of ACTE Middle East and have been a speaker at a number of ACTE forums and conventions in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Doha

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Georgie Farmer

Georgie Farmer
Group Manager, Strategic Sourcing
Global Travel & Meetings
Global Procurement Group
Microsoft Corporation

Level 5, 4 Freshwater Place
Southbank, Vic 3004
Tel: +613 8320 5953

Georgie is the Global Service Delivery Manager in the recently reshaped Microsoft Travel Team, designed to create and execute Microsoft’s Travel 2015 strategy. She is responsible for managing all travel services and 3rd party tools that the Microsoft travelling community utilize. The program spans 70 countries and 50,000+ travelers.

Prior to this role Georgie managed the travel program across Asia for 4 years utilizing technology and innovative business practices to lift the program to new heights. Prior to Microsoft, Georgie was with JPMorgan Chase Bank N.A. as their VP of Travel, Asia Pacific for 4 years. Before joining JPMorgan, Georgie held various sales management positions with Diners Club Australia, a division of Citigroup from 1997-2004. Working on developing travel and purchasing expense management solutions for large corporate and government clients provided her with the impetus to move from being a supplier to a buyer. These experiences provide her with a balanced view of the industry and a deep understanding of corporate travel management practices and challenges in the Asia-Pacific region. Georgie started her travel industry career with Ansett Australia, an Australian airline in 1986 and worked in various operations and sales roles.

Georgie is an active leader of ACTE having held the role of Regional Chair in Asia Pacific for 4 years and having relocated to Australia was appointed as the Australasia Board Member in December 2011. She believes in the need for organizations in Asia-Pacific to work together with ACTE in order to sustain continuous improvements to legacy practices and to leverage innovation in technology.

Georgie holds a Masters in Business Administration from the Australian Graduate School of Entrepreneurship.

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Yves Galimidi

Yves Galimidi
YG Consulting
Mobility, Business Travel, Meetings

Tel: +32 497 310152

As a corporate member of ACTE for more than 10 years I have been extensively involved in various volunteer activities, such as speaker, panelist and host at different ACTE forums and conferences, ACTE Country Champion in the Belgium/Luxemburg area, member of the ACTE CSR & Global Conference Steering Committees and I am currently serving as ACTE Regional Chair Europe.

I am also a dedicated member of different business travel advisory boards (TMC, hotels, and corporate payment solutions).

With 25 years of experience and expertise in the business travel industry mainly on the corporate side, as travel manager with the Inter IKEA Group and travel purchaser with global responsibilities with IKEA, I strongly believe that I can assist ACTE in achieving its missions and goals and I am more than ready to dedicate my time and my energy.

I have no doubts that ACTE is today "driving change through continuous improvement" being the leader in global education and defining best practices for the global business travel industry, which during the last few years has become a very complex and extremely challenging professional sector.

I will do my utmost during my tenure to actively contribute to the growth of ACTE and enlarge its membership base, both on the corporate side and on the supplier side. I am convinced that fostering the relations between both sides is and will remain a key element.

I also intend to enhance networking and benchmarking opportunities between ACTE members. Sharing our experiences, both good and bad, is certainly the best possible way for us to develop and advance together.

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Susan Lichtenstein

United States
Susan Lichtenstein
Director, Global Travel
Cisco Systems

Oakland Park, FL USA
Tel: 1-408-527-9947

Susan Lichtenstein is the Director of Global Travel for Cisco Systems, Inc. She is responsible for managing both the Procurement, Operations and Card Program of $650M in global travel spend annually across 120 plus countries.

Susan has an extensive background in the Travel and Meetings industry with more than 20 years’ experience working within the corporate markets. Susan’s past roles have included Vice President of Corporate Markets for a Global Meeting and Event Company, Executive Vice President of Sales for a Meeting Technology Company, Vice President of an International Swiss Travel Company and the Director of Account Management for a Corporate Travel company.

Susan and her team have received the following individual awards:
Top 25 Most Influential Executives (2×)
Travel Manager of the Year
Most Innovative Global Travel Program Award (4×)
The Transformational Leadership Team Award
ACTE Advancing The Global Industry Award
Corporate Meetings & Incentives’ Changemakers Award

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Vivianne Martins

Vivianne Martins
Associação Brasileira de Gestores de Eventos e Viagens Corporativas (ABGEV)

Av Brigadeiro Faria Lima, 2369
São Paulo
Tel: 55-1151813237

Vivianne Martins, Director of the Academia de Viagens de Corporativas, is recognized as one of the national leaders of travel management and tourism in Brazil. She was a founder of the ABGEV (Brazilian Association of Event Managers and Corporate Travel) in 2003 which transformed into ALAGEV (Latin American Association of Event Managers and Corporate Travel) in 2012. She served as ABGEV/ALAGEV president for several years and today continues as a member of their Board of Directors.

Vivianne served as executive purchasing manager and administrative services, travel and events for the Bayer Group for 17 years in addition to other management positions in international companies. In 2005 she co-founded the Academia de Viagens Corporativas where she is a partner and director, teacher and consultant.

Martins graduated in Business Administration with specialization in Marketing from ESPM / SP. In 2010 she published her book, ‘Corporate Travel’.

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Suzanne Neufang

ACTE Centre Chair
Suzanne Neufang
VP/Managing Director-Americas
HRS - Global Hotel Solutions

New York, NY USA

Suzanne Neufang served as ACTE President from January 2012 until December 2013, and now continues her support in a two-year term as a board director. In March 2015 she joined HRS - Global Hotel Solutions as VP-Americas to open HRS's US operations in New York City. In 2014 she led marketing and e-commerce at Intuit ProTax Group, a leader in small business software solutions. Prior to that, she gained a wealth of global travel experience in her 10 years at Sabre Holdings. Her roles there included President/General Manager at GetThere, and Vice President of Marketing and Products at Travelocity Corporate Solutions. She started her career in broadcasting before joining "corporate America" in a series of marketing and e-commerce roles at GTE/Verizon. She has degrees from the University of Hawaii and Minot State University.

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Steve Sitto

Steve Sitto
Head of Global Travel
Tesla Motors

Fremont, CA USA
Tel: 1-312-420-7250

Steve Sitto is Global Travel Manager at Tesla, having previously worked in a similar capacity for GE, Roche, and Cisco Systems globally. Steve is an industry veteran with over 20 years of travel industry experience including travel agency operations, account management, travel technology, hotel sales and strategic sourcing.

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Johnny Thorsen

Johnny Thorsen
VP – Global Travel Strategy & Partnerships

M: +1 925-856-7226

Johnny is Senior Director Value Services with SAP Mobile Services. Prior to that he was the global product and strategy owner for Concur Messaging based in San Francisco, California since Concur acquired conTgo in March 2013.

Prior to Concur Johnny spent 6 years as the co-founder and CEO of conTgo Ltd, being at the forefront of the mobile travel technology revolution, focusing on “point of experience” software for corporate travellers, while maintaining his strong links to the travel procurement and security areas.

Prior to launching conTgo, Johnny has held a range of senior positions in the travel technology industry with major players such as Travelport, Sabre, HRG and CWT.

In January 2011 Johnny was named one the 25 most influential people in the global business travel industry by the US-based BTN magazine, reflecting the developments conTgo experienced since the major break-through during the ash cloud crisis in April 2010.

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Cindy Van der Elst

Cindy Van der Elst
Global Leader, Honeywell Meeting & Event Solutions

Brussels, Belgium
Tel: 32-27282136

Cindy Van der Elst is currently Global Leader Honeywell Meeting Solutions, the Strategic Meeting Management Program (SMMP) in Honeywell. She has responsibility for managing the global meeting category strategy & procurement excellence, and is in charge of leading the global events team across the globe.

Cindy has joined Honeywell in 2004 and started her career in the company as the EMEA Travel Manager. She was responsible for the complete E2E T&E strategy, procurement and processes.

Prior to joining Honeywell, Cindy has spent nearly 10 years in a variety of roles in the travel business including working for Delta Airlines and Carlson Wagonlit Travel.

She has been an active member in ACTE as the Belgian ACTE Country Champion and was formally engaged in BATM (Belgian Association of Travel Management).

Cindy believes that working with ACTE on the Board-level is giving her the perfect opportunity to drive diversity in the business travel industry. She also is very engaged to enhance education for new comers to the travel industry, especially with travel education programs for young professionals in India, China, Latin America, and Africa.

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