About Ron DiLeo - Ron is currently Founder and CEO of The In the Black Group, a performance consultancy focused on helping companies on the supplier side of the travel industry optimize their business performance. In addition to his consulting, Ron decided to focus a large portion of his time on business development planning and funding around a start-up company he co-founded in 2014, SafeTravelRx Inc (STRx). STRx is SaaS applications development company building medical applications that connect individuals’ data with hospitals and doctors around the world via smart technology designed for both the B2B and B2C travel industry segments. Partnering with WorldAware, STRx is also a premier Duty-of-Care provider for business travelers.
He was President and CEO of the AirPlus International North America, a global provider of charge card services for business travel management when he decided to launch STRx. Prior to that he was executive director of ACTE, a global association focused on the business travel industry segment.
Ron began his travel industry career in 1978 as a ticketing agent with Rosenbluth International and when the company was sold to American Express 25 years later he was the Chief Operating Officer. Following the sale to American Express, Ron was the executive champion of the global integration team that put the two companies together and was later appointed as Senior Vice President and General Manager of American Express Travel EMEA, based in London, which encompassed twenty-one markets throughout Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. Ron also served on the board of American Express Europe Ltd, which set direction for all American Express businesses operating in the region including the American Express Corporate and Consumer Card related businesses and the American Express Bank.
Ron currently sits on the board of several companies in the travel and tourism space. He is also a member of various angel investor networks in Europe and the United States.
About the In the Black Group - From time to time a project will require a level of subject matter expertise that is more than what I can bring to the table on my own. The In the Black Group are all independent consultants that I have had personal experience with over the years and are absolutely the best at what they do. This group of outstanding professionals are listed below along with a brief explanation of the deep subject matter expertise they bring to the table:
Suzanne Aaronson - Suzanne is one of the smartest and deepest marketing talents I have ever had the pleasure of working with. She conceptualized, launched, managed and then sold two ventures to multi-billion $ strategic acquirers. Both companies, first The Hearst Corporation followed by ALTOUR (now owned by The Travel Leaders Group) brought her on as part of the acquisitions as their Chief Marketing Officer. Her current venture, S Files has both hospitality & lifestyle advisory & marketing strategy clients, as well as high net worth individuals who take Suzanne's guidance on where to stay/what to experience, through her expert travel referral & booking service. She has made a successful career of cutting through the noise: positioning offerings so they are ‘heard’ & easily grasped by the consumer. High Net/Ultra High Net worth consumer marketing is one of her niche areas of expertise. Suzanne is based in Greenwich and here is a link to her company website: www.sfiles.com
Winfried Barczaitis - Winfried has vast experience in all aspects of business travel management with a niche of specialized knowledge of the Eastern European travel industry marketplace. Projects he has been working on recently include the globalization and process optimization of Travel Management for various international companies. He also specializes in merger & acquisition support in the travel industry and is considered one of the most forward thinking experts in the area of market entry strategies for OTA's and travel technology companies. Winfried consults frequently in support of RFP's for Air, Hotel and TMCs. During his career he worked for well known brands such as Schenker, Thomas Cook, KarstadtQuelle and American Express. Winfried is based in Bad Honnef and here is a link to his company website: www.wb-business-support.com
Regis Chambert - Regis is a very capable and pragmatic business person who has run both large travel enterprises such as American Express Europe as well as start-ups like Avexia Voyage in Saint Denis. His specialities include change management, business development, union and works council relations and franchise acquisitions. He is particularly well placed in Paris business circles and is active in the local community. His consulting firm RC2 focuses on business travel and procurement best practices. He is a go-to expert on travel agency/travel management acquisitions. Regis is based in Paris and here is a link to his company website: www.regischambert-consulting.fr
Andy Craggs - Andy has extensive cross-industry corporate and client experience in Europe, Asia-Pacific, the US and Latin America. Expertise includes Business & Organizational Transformation with a focus on leading change & innovation, developing leaders, culture change, and strategy execution. Corporate sector expertise includes Publishing, Financial Services, Advertising, Media and Technology. Consulting sector expertise includes Media, Technology, Mobile & Telecoms, Banking & Financial Services, Health & Pharmaceuticals, Professional Services, and FMCG. Andy is Founder and Owner of the Jump Network consultancy and an Associate of several international groups including London Business School where he is a Programme Director in Executive Education.
Andy is based in London and here is a link to his company website: www.thejumpnetwork.com
Stephen Etchells - Stephen is a global executive with substantial operational, main board and deal experience in B2B and B2C distribution, logistics, aviation & travel, financial services, e-commerce, technology and business transformation. He owns and operates as CEO for a referrals based boutique and strategic change management company, Change Highway, which has a successful track record in assisting PE, start-up, multinational and government clients in e-enabled business transformation, change programmes, strategy, and financial and accounting aspects of acquisitions and disposals, together with high growth management. In addition Stephen was an Investor, Chairman and Director of conTgo, a mobile SAAS model for the B2B Global Travel sector, which was successfully sold to Concur in March 2013. As a lead negotiator, he has been responsible for numerous large successful corporate M&A transactions and PE investments in Europe and the US, in addition to having full Executive P&L responsibilities for leading Global organisations. Stephen is based in London and here is a link to his company website: www.changehighway.com
Brad Hart - Brad has over 30 years of experience in the travel industry. His professional background includes training, technology, operations and eCommerce. With hands on experience from the agent’s and GDS point of view including running travel agency back office systems; he has a full overview of the end to end processes required to implement and automate all aspects of travel technology systems.
Brad has the ability to interface with all levels of participants in a project to ensure success and that customer’s expectations are exceeded. He has led many international and global projects, including current market online booking tools, as well as being recognized by his former company in the top 1 percent of performers among a staff of 13,000+
Frank Hoffmann - Frank is one of the foremost thinkers in executive coaching and corporate cultural development. He is a strategic training and development business partner and change leader with 30+ years of experience. He transformed one company's training programs into being recognized in Fortune Magazine as "One of the Top 10 Training Programs in America". With a master's degree in counseling and 25+ years of corporate training experience, Frank is certified in numerous assessments including EQi and EQ 360 (emotional intelligence), Myers-Briggs, Social Styles, and Learning Styles. Frank is based in Philadelphia and here is a link to his company website: www.hoffmannassociates.net
Nathalie Marechal - Nathalie is a partner at JK Associates Consulting where her area of focus is on business travel for both corporates and public sector organizations. Her specialties include organization and process optimization, benchmark and procurement, project implementation and change management. She has a great deal of experience in sales, account management and operations in international environments particularly with European and US groups. Her management skills with large teams is unparalleled as a foremost leader in B-to-B services specializing in transformation and re-engineering plan management, negotiations with employees and workers councils. Nathalie is based in Paris and here is a link to her company website:
Viviânne Martins - Viviânne is an travel industry entrepreneur specializing in business travel. She was a buyer with several Fortune 500 companies, including Bayer, and went on to start Brazil's first travel management association, ABGEV.org. She also has a keen interest in education and leads one of the premier university groups in attracting people to the travel industry. She serves as a member of the board for the Association of Corporate Travel Executives representing Latin America. Viviânne is based in Sao Paulo and here is a link to her company websites: and
Thomas Siebert - Thomas is a proven call center leader with strong operating management skills in both B2B & B2C environments. His strengths include leadership development and employee retention both on and offshore specializing in BPO partnership driven multiple call centers. The results of his efforts drive customer advocacy through care and sales strategy programs that are aligned with client corporate goals. In addition to personally owning every client relationship he works to drive corporate client account management solutions that are focused on results orientations. He builds Quality, FCR & VOC performance programs that optimize operating costs while driving customer satisfaction/retention. On the technology side he is a subject matter expert on arming talent with the right end-to-end agent tools designed to successfully drive business results. In the course of those efforts he is able to optimize multi-channel & multi-tiered programs for improved productivity, career pathing. All of his efforts are adaptable to corporate life cycles-start up, growth, optimization, turnaround, business consolidation.