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Travel Leaders Group creates Elite Travel Division and Names Gail Grimmett as its President


Luxury leisure, corporate and entertainment travel agent advisors from both Protravel and Tzell will comprise the two integral constituencies of the new Elite Travel Division.

NEW YORK - Travel Leaders Group is announcing the appointment of longtime airline industry leader Gail Grimmett as President of its newly-created Elite Travel Division, effective May 16. Comprised of its two predominant travel agency brands - Protravel International and Tzell Travel Group – the new Elite Travel Division represents nearly $4 billion in annual sales volume, making it the unparalleled seller of luxury travel among travel agencies. After 19 years in key executive roles within Delta Air Lines, Grimmett will lead the senior leadership teams from both Protravel and Tzell; she will report directly to Travel Leaders Group CEO Ninan Chacko. Additionally, the company is announcing that in support of Grimmett, Barry Liben will now step up to assume the role of Chairman of Protravel and Tzell after most recently serving as Tzell's CEO.

"Ultimately, our strategy is to further strengthen the already enviable position our award-winning travel agents from both Protravel and Tzell maintain within the industry, whether they are focused on luxury leisure, corporate or entertainment. It is incumbent upon us to equip them not only with the most compelling travel experiences they can offer their clients, but also with the industry's most dynamic visionary leadership capable of delivering on those objectives," explained Chacko. "Through her lengthy tenure with Delta Air Lines, Gail Grimmett has continually been recognized for her innovative achievements and credited with contributing to the airline's place as the premier U.S. carrier in today's marketplace. She is well-respected by both industry peers and travel agents, as well as by the larger business community in New York City and State."

Most recently, since November 2008, Grimmett served as Delta's Senior Vice President, Global New York, where she had full financial and commercial responsibility for the airline's domestic and international performance in New York. During this time, she delivered over $6 billion of revenue to the company annually. As a champion for New York, she was asked to serve as New York Governor Andrew Cuomo's appointee on both the New York State Tourism Board and the New York City Regional Economic Development Council. She also serves on several other boards, including Covenant House International in New York City, the New York Building Congress, the Business Council of New York State, and NYC & Company. Those roles and achievements led to her being named among the Top 50 Most Powerful Women in New York by Crain's Business.

Prior to her last leadership role with Delta, Grimmett served in several other distinguished capacities with the airline, including nearly four years as Senior Vice President of Pricing and Yield Management, more than three and a half years as Managing Director of Investor Relations, over one year as Director of Financial Planning and Analysis, and more than three years as Delta's Chief Economist – Corporate Forecasting. Grimmett began her career as a Senior Regulatory Economist with the U.S. Department of Labor.

"Among all the various segments that have contributed to Travel Leaders Group's remarkable growth over the past eight years, none have been more intrinsic to its success than luxury and other high-touch travel," Grimmett noted. "After years of working with both Protravel and Tzell from the supplier side and recognizing how each of them have earned their places as the agencies of choice for the most discerning and elite travelers, it's an incredible honor to be joining these two distinguished teams as we work together to take us, our agents and our valued customers to new heights."

"We simply can't rest on our laurels when it comes to luxury leisure, corporate and entertainment travel. The establishment of a dedicated Elite Travel Division will yield tremendous results for all our agents within Protravel and Tzell," Barry Liben added. "Our Protravel and Tzell agents deserve continued innovation and forward-thinking leadership that can secure our preeminent position for years to come. I'm confident that Gail Grimmett is exactly the right leader to build on our strong foundation of historic success and achievements."

With annual sales approaching $21 billion Travel Leaders Group is the largest traditional travel agency company in North America, comprised of approximately 30% of all travel agencies in North America that are wholly-owned, franchised, or member agencies. It's a leader in both the retail travel agency space and corporate travel, and consistently ranks as one of the top travel companies nationwide.

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