American Express Global Business Travel unveils initiative to drive AI innovation and governance

American Express Global Business Travel unveils initiative to drive AI innovation and governance

Its initiative includes a new focused taskforce

Travel and expense software provider American Express Global Business Travel (Amex GBT) has revealed it has created a new AI initiative. 

The programme will increase focus on existing AI projects, "drive purposeful innovation" and greater efficiencies for clients and the corporate travel management ecosystem.

Its immediate focus will be adopting next-generation AI technologies and enhanced governance across four key areas of the business, including traveller care; finance; engineering; and enabling a modern workplace. 

The team will be conducting several assessments and partnering with legal, privacy, compliance, procurement, and cybersecurity to determine the right technology solutions and advise on the new risks introduced by AI.

Michael Esquibel, SVP technology strategy & engineering, has been tasked with driving efficiency, productivity and progress through AI.

His team now includes Marilyn Markham, who has been appointed as VP, engineering & AI strategy, to lead the team in fostering the adoption of AI capabilities across the organisation in a "secure, compliant, and scalable manner". 

Erica Trevino has been named VP, operations system strategy & optimisation. She will be focused on using AI for improved efficiencies on the frontlines for our global travel counsellors. 

Jake Hautly has also been announced as a new addition in the role of VP, finance systems strategy & optimisation. He will be responsible for modernising finance processes and creating "greater confidence" in financial forecasting. 

Finally, Neil Kirk has been unveiled as the new VP technology services. He will be look at staff productivity in view of updating enterprise tools with AI components. 

Markham said: “Artificial intelligence will supercharge our colleagues and bridge a path to automation previously limited by the language-data barrier.

"Scaling AI for Amex GBT will unlock efficiencies and inspire product innovation to elevate user experiences for our colleagues, our clients, and their travelers.”

David Thompson, chief innovation and technology officer of Amex GBT, added: “Delivering best in class service supported and simplified by technology has always driven our innovation agenda, but you cannot apply AI casually in the B2B environment.

"We are building a secure environment, applying robust testing, and partnering with the leaders of the AI revolution, so our employees and customers can feel confident that we are progressing responsibly.”

Amex GBT actively uses proprietary AI across its portfolio of services. In 2020, Amex GBT acquired AI start-up, 30SecondsToFly, which has been responsible for Amex GBT's natural language processing in  chat and email channels.

The acquisition of Engencia from Expedia Group in 2021 also brought additional AI and data science expertise, technology and enterprise capabilities.