American Express forms global advisory service unit for business travel clients


New York (AMERICAN EXPRESS) - American Express, a diversified worldwide travel, financial and network services company, today announced the formation of a global advisory services unit within the company's Business Travel division. The new Advisory Services organization will span Business Travel's four operating regions and align nearly 200 professionals to strengthen the division's client management servicing capabilities. Functionally, Advisory Services will provide an end-to-end solution - from assessment through implementation - to help companies of all sizes to optimize their investment in air, car, hotel and meetings spend.

"Expert, consultative service is ingrained in the culture and brand promise of American Express," said Andy McGraw, Senior Vice President, General Manager of North America for American Express Business Travel. "The new Advisory Services unit will be laser focused on providing the insights and capabilities required to deliver tangible ROI - in the form of purchase and process savings as well as heightened program controls - from the billions of dollars our clients' spend annually on travel and meetings."

Through its holistic, interdisciplinary approach, Advisory Services will globalize and integrate three travel specialty practice-lines - policy management, strategic sourcing and process management - that had previously operated individually within defined geographies. Broadly, the practice-lines function as follows:
  • Policy Consulting -- Drive corporate cultural change around travel buying decisions
  • Strategic Sourcing -- Secure optimal supplier relationships to support client success
Process Management -- Implement buying decisions and travel program controls
Advisory Services is managed by 12-year American Express veteran and business builder Mike Streit, Vice President, Advisory Services, American Express Business Travel. During his tenure at American Express, Streit similarly led the successful transformation of several American Express business functions including Tax and Business Services, Global Procurement Office, and Global Real Estate. Streit is a two-time recipient of the prestigious American Express Chairman's Quality Award.

"We are already experiencing robust demand for the Advisory Services function. Early sales for the newly unified operations reflect a 23 percent increase for the annual quarterly period ended March 31, 2006," said Streit. "Further, with business travel on the rebound and costs and complexity rising across every facet of travel spending, there's never been a more pressing need for the insights and capabilities we bring to the table."

Advisory Services' recognized subject matter experts will leverage the world's largest corporate travel data repository, representing more than 10,000 clients and $20 billion in total travel spend, and take full advantage of American Express's unique position as the world's only fully integrated travel, purchasing and payment program provider.

"American Express Business Travel is the only global travel management company that brings together an integrated travel and expense management program for its clients," concluded McGraw. "Advisory Services adds the talent, tools, and management consulting acumen to enable our clients to manage more holistically the total cost of their travel."

The strategic move integrates Business Travel's existing Policy and Online Adoption consulting groups, as well as the eCLIPSE and Corporate Meetings Solutions brands, industry experts and technology innovations into the new Advisory Services organization. eCLIPSE was acquired through the acquisition of Rosenbluth International in 2003, and served as the travel procurement specialists for American Express Business Travel. The new Advisory Services unit will perform all eCLIPSE agreements going forward.

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