10 September 2007

Galileo/Worldspan Integration Team announced.

OK - So consider this my public humiliation and eating of the hat.

In early 2006 I said that Rakesh would be out of Worldspan and if not then I would be eating my hat if he was not gone by September. Seems I was right with the month - wrong with the year. So munch munch....

The team is pretty much as expected. With Galileo ranks depleted after the Blackstone acquisition it was only natural that the Worldspan team would be used to fill the spaces left. Interestingly Kevin Mooney is named Chief Commercial Officer filling in the combined role and the shoes of Ninan who follows Rakesh out the door with presumably a nice parachute.

Two interesting points emerge,

A) The HQ will remain in the UK. Gordon is not moving! However the commute from Atlanta to Langely shouldn't be too bad as long as the M25 behaves itself. The natural choice for the bulk of the operation will be Atlanta as the old Chicago UA/Apollo HQ in Rosemont was axed in the Cendant days. Parsippany may be in the Garden State but the location is not that good for the new organization. Hence our bet is that Atlanta will be named US HQ. Kansas City will probably be shuttered for good. At some time in the distant future after CITP is fully operational and United is housed in Munich - I think we can then see a rationalization of the mainframe locations. Remember no integration!!! Apollo will finally head into the sunset.

B) Bob Coggin comes in as the Vice Chairman. For him it must seem like old home week. He is very familiar with Worldspan coming from his long stint at Delta. He brings a wealth of experience and a canny mind. Congrats Bob!

The business faces one very big challenge. What to do about the PSS side of the business (aka Airline Hosting). With challenges integrating at least 2 platforms and a number of black eyes for the new IBS based AiRes solution, we expect to see the Travelport business make some moves on this in the next 12 months.

Best of luck chaps


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