Date set for Sabre president Kurt Ekert to succeed chief executive Sean Menke

Date set for Sabre president Kurt Ekert to succeed chief executive Sean Menke

The management change will take place on April 27, the GDS announced today

Sabre Corporation has announced a change in leadership with president Kurt Ekert adding the role of chief executive, taking over from Sean Menke.

The transition will see Menke retain his other position as chairman of the board of the Nasdaq listed US-based GDS and travel technology giant.

The change will take place on April 27, Sabre announced in a statement today. Ekert has also been nominated as a director for election at Sabre’s 2023 Annual Meeting on April 26.

The moves are being made as part of the company’s and the board of directors’ ongoing succession planning, said Sabre.

Menke joined Sabre in 2015 serving as president of its largest business division, before being promoted to chief executive 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,” said Sabre.

Menke said: “It has been an honour 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 chief executive. 

He oversees all aspects of the company’s business and technology operations and Over the last year has developed new growth strategies.

Sabre said Elert has “executed against the company’s operating plans, including successfully reorganising 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 of directors.

He 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 chief executive 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.”