In a memo to American Express Representative Network owners and managers, Claire Bennett, executive vice president and general manager for American Express Travel, notified agents of changes in the leadership of the network.
Yana Gutierrez, vice president of strategic partnerships, will now have direct responsibility over the Representative Network.
Tony Gonchar remains as vice president, turning his attention to identifying key linkages between the Rep Network and other business units within American Express. Gonchar will be an advocate for the Network, Amex said. He will report directly to Bennett as will Gutierrez.
The leadership changes follow a major shift at American Express, when the company announced a broad move toward home-based travel agents. The company announced that it would be closing its 20 remaining storefront agencies that sell leisure travel in favor of a work-from-home model.
"We believe that these two changes provide a clear way for us to capitalize on new opportunities," Bennett said. "Throughout the year, we've had compelling discussions around the opportunities and outlook for the Network, as well as around the direction of American Express Travel as we continue to globalize the customer experience."
Bennett cited the prioritization of "key focus areas for our business," including the Representative Network, the globalization of the American Express Travel customer experience and identifying "points of collaboration within other business units at American Express to expand opportunities and support of the Network."
Gutierrez' appointment will help "better fulfill our promise to you in providing the most differentiated programs and benefits available. This will deepen the options you have to offer, distinguish us from our competition and promote customer loyalty." For more on the latest programs at American Express, check out our recent coverage of their Retail Travel Network Learning Forum:
Bennett thanked Gonchar, former CEO of ASTA, for his leadership in the past year. "The results have been impressive; the work that has been done to maximize RTF scores, deliver an enhanced Travel Insiders program and lay the groundwork to establish the Rep Network as the exclusive Gold Card travel fulfillment channel will continue to complement the Network's positioning and future success."