Michael BattFounder and Chairman - Travel Leaders Group
Michael Batt is the Founder and Chairman of Travel Leaders Group, a North American travel company that generates gross travel sales of approximately $21 billion and directly employs over 1,000 staff managing operations of more than 7,000 company-owned, franchised and affiliated travel agencies in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, Greece, and Ireland. Today, Travel Leaders Group has over 40,000 travel agents working directly for the organization or under one of its brands.
Prior to his role as Founder and Chairman of Travel Leaders Group, Mr. Batt served as an executive with Carlson Companies where he was President of Carlson Leisure Group (CLG) and a Board member of Carlson Wagonlit Travel. He joined Carlson in 1996 and was responsible for leisure travel operations in the US for 11 years as well as Carlson's investment in the Thomas Cook Group in the UK. Under Mr. Batt, CLG grew significantly with sales growing from a combined $2 billion in 1996 to over $5 billion in 2007. In January 2008, Mr. Batt led a management buyout of Carlson Leisure Group, and in April 2008, secured investment support and partnership with One Equity Partners – the private equity arm of JPMorgan Chase. The company has subsequently merged with Tzell Travel (ranked number one in Business Travel news ranking of US business travel agencies), and acquired Nexion (now a group of over 3,300 home-based agents), and Vacation.com – the largest leisure US travel seller with over 5,300 travel agency members. Most recently, Travel Leaders Group completed the merger of Tzell with Protravel International, Inc. in December 2012.
Before joining Carlson, Mr. Batt was Executive Vice President, sales and marketing for Alamo Rent-A-Car. He was responsible for worldwide sales and marketing for the car rental giant. Prior to Alamo, Mr. Batt served as Marketing Director (and member of the executive board) of British Airways where he was responsible for all advertising and promotion, product development and delivery of service standards (1987-1994). Mr. Batt started his business career working for M and M Mars, enjoying a 12-year tenure with the company in various sales and brand management positions working in the United Kingdom, Spain, Africa and the Middle East.
Mr. Batt was inducted into the British Travel Industry Hall of Fame in 2014. Mr. Batt is a native of the United Kingdom and holds a Bachelor of Science in Economics and Materials from the University of Wales.
Ninan Chacko, CTCChief Executive Officer - Travel Leaders Group
Ninan Chacko, CTC, serves as the Chief Executive Officer for Travel Leaders Group, a North American travel company that generates gross travel sales of approximately $21 billion and directly employs over 1,000 staff managing operations of more than 7,000 company-owned, franchised and affiliated travel agencies in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Greece, Ireland and Australia. Today, Travel Leaders Group has over 40,000 travel agents working directly for the organization or under one of its brands. Based in New York City, Mr. Chacko also serves on the Board of Directors for Travel Leaders Group.
Prior to joining Travel Leaders Group, Mr. Chacko provided highly respected, visionary and innovative leadership as Chief Executive Officer of PR Newswire, the global leader of communications and marketing solutions that enables organizations to monitor conversations, create content, and actively engage with key audiences across traditional, digital, social and mobile channels. During his tenure, PR Newswire enjoyed significant organic growth from product innovation and international expansion.
Before joining PR Newswire in 2009, Mr. Chacko served as Chief Commercial Officer of Worldspan, the worldwide travel information, e-commerce and technology service provider. In this role, he was responsible for sales, marketing, operations, service and support activities for customers and partners in over 60 countries, including Tzell, Travel Leaders Corporate and Travel Leaders Franchise Group. Mr. Chacko was a founding member of the buyout consortium management team that acquired Worldspan from Delta Air Lines, Northwest Airlines and American Airlines, and served as Chief Commercial Officer until its sale to Travelport.
Prior to Worldspan, Mr. Chacko spent more than 13 years with Sabre Holdings, a leading supplier of distribution and technology solutions to the travel industry. As Senior Vice President, he led the development, launch and operation of Sabre's hotel merchant business in the travel agency channel and the creation and execution of Sabre's consortia network strategy to influence and monetize travel retailing. During his time with Sabre, he served in a variety of leadership roles, including Senior Vice President of Marketing and Strategy for Sabre Travel Network and Senior Vice President of Global Services.
Mr. Chacko began his career with System One Corporation before joining American Airlines.
Throughout his career, Mr. Chacko has served on a number of boards, and he currently serves on two, including for the Center for Public Integrity (Washington, DC), a nonpartisan, nonprofit investigative news organization; and also on the advisory board for Leaders Quest (London, UK), a social enterprise that works with leaders to create a more equitable and sustainable world.
Mr. Chacko earned both his Master of Science and Bachelor of Science in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Kansas (Lawrence, KS). More recently, he also completed Harvard Business School's Advanced Management Program and the London Business School's Spencer Stuart Directors' Forum. Mr. Chacko also earned his Certified Travel Counselor (CTC) from The Travel Institute.
Roger BlockPresident - Travel Leaders Network
Roger E. Block is president of Travel Leaders Network, part of Travel Leaders Group, a North American travel company that generates gross travel sales approaching $21 billion annually and directly employs over 1,000 staff managing operations of more than 7,000 company-owned, franchised and affiliated travel agencies in the United States, Canada, Greece, Ireland, the United Kingdom and Australia. Both Travel Leaders Network and Travel Leaders Group are headquartered in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
In his current role, Mr. Block oversees the strategic development and growth of Travel Leaders Network. With nearly 7,000 Associate (franchise) and Member travel agencies in Canada and the United States, over 35,000 individual travel agents and more than $17 billion in annual sales, Travel Leaders Network is the largest seller of luxury travel, cruises, river cruises and tours in the travel agency industry. Travel Leaders Network was formed in 2017 when Travel Leaders Franchise Group (Travel Leaders Associates and Results! Travel) combined with Vacation.com.
Prior to serving as President of Travel Leaders Network, Block served as the President of Travel Leaders Franchise Group, which was spun off from travel and hospitality company, Carlson, in January 2008. Mr. Block had served as Executive Vice President of Carlson Travel Franchise Group, responsible for the company’s travel franchise operations, including Carlson Wagonlit Travel Associates, Cruise Holidays, Results! Travel and SeaMaster Cruises brands. Under Mr. Block, over a thousand locations were added to the franchise system network.
Mr. Block joined Carlson in 1997 following the acquisition of Travel Agents International (TAI) by Carlson Leisure Group, into which most TAI franchisees converted. Mr. Block was the Chairman, President and Founder of TAI. Before TAI, Block was Senior Vice President, Director and Corporate Treasurer of Community Banks of Florida, Inc., with responsibility for fund management of the Holding Company banks.
In addition to his leadership within Travel Leaders Network, Mr. Block currently serves as Chairman of the Board of the American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA) and is also on ASTA’s Executive Committee as its Chairman. He has been on the ASTA Board since 2012. Mr. Block was one of three founding members and founding officer of ASTA’s Corporate Advisory Committee (CAC) and served as Treasurer from 2003 to 2005, Vice Chairman from 2005 to 2007 and Chairman from 2007 to 2009. Additionally, in tandem with his prior CAC leadership role, Mr. Block previously served on the ASTA Board from 2005 to 2009 and served as an ASTA Executive Committee member from 2007-2009. Previously, Mr. Block served on the board of trustees of ICTA, now The Travel Institute.
John LovellPresident - Travel Leaders Network and Leisure Group
John Lovell, CTC, is President of Travel Leaders Network and Leisure Group, which is part of Travel Leaders Group, a North American travel company that generates gross travel sales approaching $21 billion annually and directly employs over 1,000 staff managing operations of more than 7,000 company-owned, franchised and affiliated travel agencies in the United States, Canada, Greece, Ireland, the United Kingdom and Australia. While Travel Leaders Group is headquartered in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Mr. Lovell is based in Alexandria, Virginia.
Mr. Lovell is responsible for the strategic operations, sales, marketing and overall growth of Travel Leaders Network and Leisure Group. With nearly 7,000 Associate (franchise) and Member travel agencies in Canada and the United States, over 35,000 individual travel agents and more than $17 billion in annual sales, Travel Leaders Network is the largest seller of luxury travel, cruises, river cruises and tours in the travel agency industry; Travel Leaders Network was formed in 2017 when Travel Leaders Franchise Group (Travel Leaders Associates and Results! Travel) combined with Vacation.com. Travel Leaders Leisure Group represents Travel Leaders Group’s wholly-owned leisure businesses, including All Aboard Travel, Cruise Specialists, CruiseDeals.com and SinglesCruise.com.
Prior to taking on responsibilities for all of Travel Leaders Group’s franchise, consortia and leisure operations in 2014, Mr. Lovell first served as the President of Vacation.com beginning in 2011. He also serves on numerous Advisory Boards, including Azamara Club Cruises, Travel Insured International and Starwood Hotels and Resorts, among others. Mr. Lovell formerly served as a member of the Board of Directors for both Tourism Cares and the American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA).
From 2006 to 2011, Mr. Lovell served as Vice President of Sales, Industry Relations and Revenue Management for Vacation.com, where he was responsible for all sales activities in the United States and for managing and overseeing preferred supplier negotiations and relationships, as well as expanding marketing and revenue opportunities. Mr. Lovell was originally hired to serve as Vacation.com’s Vice President of Sales and Business Development in January of 2002.
Before joining Vacation.com, Mr. Lovell held the position of Director of Travel Industry Sales at ANC Rental Corporation, where he was responsible for all car rental sales activity within the travel agency, tour operator, travel association and government channels. Previous to his employment at ANC, Mr. Lovell served as Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Renaissance Travel Solutions, where he was responsible for increasing the Baltimore-based tour operator’s brand presence by establishing the brand offerings of Adventure Vacations, Sea World Busch Gardens Vacations, Spirit Vacations, AirTran Vacations and Frontier Airlines Vacations. Mr. Lovell first joined the travel industry at the Hertz Corporation as Regional Sales Manager for the state of Florida. Additionally, Mr. Lovell spent nine years working for BAT Industries, working his way up to Director of Global Accounts for the tobacco giant while based in London.