Hotelbeds’ Executive Chairman, Joan Vilà, after dedicating more than 30 years of his career to driving significant innovation, transformation, and growth, is announcing his decision to move to a non-executive role on the Board of Hotelbeds with effect from today.
Joan had originally planned to step back from the day to day running of the company in 2020, but the impact of COVID-19 required him to delay the move to focus on successfully navigating the company through the global crisis. Now, with a strengthened balance sheet and with the company in a good position to capitalise on the recovery once travel demand returns, Joan believes that this is the right time for him to follow his original plan to move to a non-executive role on Hotelbeds’ board.
Joan Vilà commented: “I am immensely proud of everything the Hotelbeds family and I have achieved together, so first and foremost I want to thank our incredible employees and my Executive team for their passion and dedication. From our early days as an incoming DMC business in Spain, to our transformation to become a world leading traveltech player, active in all major source markets and destinations worldwide – it’s been a real rollercoaster! The pandemic of the past 12 months alone is just one example of the many challenges we have had to overcome as a team, but time and again, our dynamic and agile culture has given us the competitive advantage to outmanoeuvre our competitors.”
“While as a non-executive Director and committed shareholder, I will continue to be very much involved in the next stages of Hotelbeds’ success story, I would also like to take this opportunity to thank all of our hotel partners, clients and industry colleagues who have always supported us and played such an instrumental role in our success.
“I am looking forward to continuing to support Hotelbeds as well as other companies, in a non-executive capacity, which is something I’ve always been keen to do.
“With the appointment of Nicolas Huss, we are welcoming a highly experienced CEO with an incredible track record in the areas of B2B, travel and payments and we are very much look forward to the significant contribution and perspective he will bring to the company. Together with Hotelbeds’ greatly respected Executive team, including COO, Carlos Muñoz and CFO, Andrés García-Tenorio we are ready and able to further build on our incredible success story.”
HOTELBEDS APPOINTS NICOLAS HUSS AS CEO
Nicolas Huss, the former CEO of Ingenico and Visa Europe, is an experienced board-level executive and CEO with a very strong reputation in the payments, financial services and travel industries, where he has led significant growth, transformation and innovation. He brings to Hotelbeds extensive experience in leading technology and digital companies as well as a proven track record for driving organic growth. A French national, Nicolas has a truly international background and has lived and worked in many countries, including Spain where he was previously based for seven years.
Nicolas Huss said: “I’m really looking forward to taking the reins at Hotelbeds, the market leader in its segment. Joan Vilà’s strategic vision and relentless drive to innovate and internationalise has created a wonderful company and a fantastic workforce with a truly dynamic culture. Together with Carlos Muñoz and Andrés García-Tenorio, and the rest of the highly experienced Executive Leadership Team, we are well positioned to continue delivering mutual growth together with our valued supplier partners and clients.”
HOTELBEDS APPOINTS RICHARD SOLOMONS AS NON-EXECUTIVE CHAIRMAN OF THE BOARD
Richard Solomons, currently non-executive Chairman of the Advisory Committee is now also appointed as non-executive Chairman of the Board.
Richard Solomons commented: “Joan Vilà established a true global leader in the industry – a dynamic, ambitious and innovative company – and on behalf of all stakeholders, I would like to thank him for the vision and leadership that has made all this possible and I’m delighted that Joan will remain on our Board.
“It is a pleasure to welcome Nicolas to the team. His experience and track record of leading very large, complex, multi-national businesses means that he is ideally suited to become the new CEO of Hotelbeds. The company is really well positioned to continue fulfilling a key role in the intermediated travel space by further differentiating and building on the last 20 years as a value-add partner to both hotels partners and travel distributors.”
* Total Transaction Volume (TTV) for FY19 (pre-covid)
JOAN VILÀ PROFILE:
Joan’s background with the company stretches back to 1989 when he joined Barceló Travel Group, to lead a DMC office in Spain where he quickly demonstrated his aptitude for driving business growth. In 1999 he was appointed MD of the division, that within a year was acquired by First Choice Holidays PLC.
Around this same time, he led a strategic transformation of the business.
With a view to international expansion and driven by the early promise afforded by developments in e-commerce, Joan had the vision to establish a new online business model that sat alongside the traditional DMC business. Joan named this new platform ‘Hotelbeds’ and in so doing, set the foundation for the Bedbank online distribution model, a concept that has since become one of the fastest growing and most competitive segments of the modern travel industry. This model has been the driver of a virtuous, high growth, circle where every new international source market the company expanded into, ensured ever greater reach, efficient access and growth for its hotel partners. Due to the success of the new model, in 2003 Joan rebranded the wider company as Hotelbeds, operating it independently from the rest of the group.
Joan was appointed a member of First Choice PLC’s General Management Board. In 2007, First Choice merged with the tourism division of TUI AG to form TUI Travel PLC (the precursor of today’s TUI Group), where Joan also served on the Executive Committee.
In 2016, Hotelbeds was carved-out of TUI and acquired by Cinven and CPPIB with Joan Vilà continuing in the position of Executive Chairman. Soon after, Joan led the acquisition and integration of the 2nd and 3rd biggest players in the sector, GTA and Tourico Holidays, creating as a consequence the world’s number one bedbank.
NICOLAS HUSS PROFILE:
Nicolas is an experienced board level executive and CEO with a strong reputation in the payment, financial services and travel industries which began when he became CEO of GE Money Spain in 2008. He then joined Apollo Global Management where he was responsible for building up their Consumer Finance business in Spain and Ireland, before progressing to become the CEO of Visa Europe in 2013 and then of Ingenico Group, a global player in payments, in 2018.
With his extensive experience of transforming technology and digital companies, Nicolas is an inspirational value-based leader who is credited with developing high performing teams, moving at pace to drive success and organic business growth while creating dynamic and collaborative cultures through which transformation and critical business outcomes are realised.
Nicolas was appointed as a non-executive independent board director to Amadeus IT Group in 2017, where he is also Chair of the Audit Committee and also as an independent non-executive director for Entersekt, an innovator of customer-centric fintech solutions, in 2020.
A French national, Nicolas has a truly international background and has lived and worked in many countries, including Spain where he was previously based for seven years and where two of his three sons now live.