from USA Today 10/11/13 enhanced by Peter/CXO Wiz4biz
Early Years. Sam Gilliland didn’t set out to become CEO of one of the most influential Travel technology companies in the world – Sabre.
Sabre, a global technology company, plays a role in all aspects of the Travel industry, from giving travelers the tools to find the best airfares to helping hotels fill rooms to making travel agencies more efficient. It is used by more than a billion people around the world every day thru the Airlines & other users [Travelocity], so it’s sometimes transparent to us.
SW to CEO. He was an engineer by trade when he joined Sabre in 1988 as a SW developer. “I was hunkered down in a cubicle for quite a while in the early days,” he says. A little bit of luck and a lot of hard work landed him in the top spot of the Dallas-based company in 15 years 2003, managing 10,000 people in 60 countries.
Advisor to the Nation. In March 2011, President Obama appointed him to the President’s Management Advisory Board. He is also vice chair of the U.S. Commerce Department’s Travel & Tourism Advisory Committee to the Secretary of Commerce.
No longer CEO of Sabre, Gilliland, 51, stepped down from that role in 8/13 to spend more time with his family, but remains on the company’s board of directors, where he still plays a role in shaping the company’s direction.
Lessons Learned. Gilliland’s 10 years running the company taught him a thing or two about managing people — and customers’ expectations. He says I had a “sensational appetite to understand more about the customer and what they wanted. I got a huge appreciation for their needs.” Their needs are constantly changing in a world where they have access to so much information online. And that’s what Sabre – which owns Travelocity – helps airlines, hotels, rental car agencies, travel agencies & pretty much any travel company do: Present choices to Travelers in an approachable way. “As a consumer you can spend a lot of time shopping and researching,” he says. “How do you … turn those choices into something that is easily consumable?”
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