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Former Navan CRO returns as CEO of Navan Travel and Amy Butte of Sabre Fame joins Board

Navan
Rich Liu and Amy Butte.

As CEO of Navan Travel, Liu will spearhead various aspects of the business, including profit and loss, go-to-market, strategy, business development, product, design, and operations.

Navan, the all-in-one super app that makes travel and expense easy, announced that Rich Liu, formerly Navan CRO, will rejoin the company as the CEO of Navan Travel. An expert on scaling companies from seed to IPO and beyond, Liu boasts a strong track record of building high-performance teams and creating and dominating new market categories. In his newly-created role, Liu will report to Navan CEO, Ariel Cohen, and oversee the broader travel business line to drive growth and execute against larger company initiatives.

“I’ve always had a deep, personal connection with Navan’s mission to make travel and expense easy,” says Liu. “As a growth leader, I know firsthand how integral travel is to driving growth for companies — my own use of Navan travel and expense data show the very top salespeople travel 2–4x more than their colleagues. Internal teams are also 20–30% more productive, and I suspect that in the coming years, those who haven’t invested in an in-person strategy will fall behind. I’m incredibly excited to be back to help ensure Navan customers stay a step ahead.”

Liu has helped drive five multi-billion-dollar unicorns across two IPOs, a successful acquisition, and numerous funding rounds at Navan (then TripActions), MuleSoft (Salesforce), Meta (Facebook), and other transformative SaaS companies, including most recently as Chief Business Officer at Everlaw, a leading AI litigation and investigation platform. Over the course of his career, he has built global business organizations spanning sales, account management, customer success, operations, strategy, partnerships, alliances, and business development.

As CEO of Navan Travel, Liu will spearhead various aspects of the business, including profit and loss, go-to-market, strategy, business development, product, design, and operations. As Navan CRO from 2018–2021, Liu helped drive Navan’s New Distribution Capability (NDC) certification, three funding rounds, and the launch of Navan Expense, which eliminates expense reporting.

“Rich is a long-time friend and Navan champion who played a key role in Navan’s evolution, instilling the customer-first growth mentality that remains our north star today,” says Navan co-founder and CEO Ariel Cohen. “I am thrilled to welcome him back as Navan revolutionizes the travel and expense industry globally.”

Liu’s return to Navan’s executive team coincides with the appointment of Amy Butte as Audit Committee Chair and follows several years of fast growth, recording a nearly 5x increase in revenue from 2021–2023. Recent advancements include generative AI optimization and the launch of Ava, Navan’s automated virtual assistant; the establishment of Navan as a leading NDC-enabled travel management company with 14 connections; and the company’s global expansion, with five acquisitions in two years.

Butte brings a wealth of experience helping companies transition to their next stage of growth, having spearheaded two major financial services’ IPOs as CFO, including the transition of the New York Stock Exchange to a public company in 2006, as well as global travel supply distribution service Sabre Corporation. Previously, she was an equity Research Analyst at Bear Stearns and Merrill Lynch. Her professional career extends to several high-profile board positions, including Fidelity Strategic Advisers Funds, BNP Paribas USA, DigitalOcean, and Bain Capital Specialty Finance.

“I could not be happier to welcome Amy to the Navan board. Few can match Amy’s hands-on experience guiding innovative companies through pivotal moments,” says Navan co-founder and CEO Ariel Cohen. “Amy’s deep-seated knowledge of the travel and financial spaces make her the ideal addition as Navan revolutionizes travel and expense management globally.”

“There’s nothing I enjoy more than working with innovative companies powered by smart people,” says Butte. “When I met Ariel, it just clicked. Navan’s tech-first approach to integrating T&E into companies’ existing tech stack, creating efficiencies across front- and back-office teams, is addressing a massive need in the market. I’m so pleased to join Navan to help shape its next chapter.”

Butte joins Navan Board Members Ben Horowitz of Andreessen Horowitz, Oren Zeev of Zeev Ventures, Arif Janmohammed of Lightspeed Ventures, Clara Liang, Sandesh Patnam, and Ariel Cohen and Ilan Twig of Navan. Observers include Adam Bain of 01Advisors.

Co-Founder & Managing Director - Travel Media Applications | Website | + Posts

Theodore is the Co-Founder and Managing Editor of TravelDailyNews Media Network; his responsibilities include business development and planning for TravelDailyNews long-term opportunities.

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