GBTA Completes Acquisition of ACTE Assets

The Association of Corporate Travel Executives ceased operations and filed for bankruptcy in July.


The Global Business Travel Association has finalized its acquisition of key assets from the Association of Corporate Travel Executives. ACTE ceased operations and filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in July.

The organization, which was founded in 1988, closed due to economic losses from the Covid-19 pandemic and its 2019 ACTE Global Summit, which was scheduled to take place in in Macau but had to be cancelled because of the protests in Hong Kong. 

"The dual impacts of the cancellation of the Asia conference due to the security situation in Hong Kong and the Covid-19 pandemic cancellations have been blows that ACTE, as a small, nonprofit association, has not been able to withstand," said the organization in a statement announcing its closure in July.

According to Business Travel News, GBTA agreed to purchase $35,000 worth of intellectual property from ACTE in late October. Initial court filings show that this included the ACTE name, as well as any of the organization's other brand and domain names, trade secrets, know-how and software. 

In a statement announcing the completed acquisition on Nov. 24, GBTA said the move was part its pledge to unify the industry and help lead business travel out of the Covid-19 crisis.

Bhart Sarin, president of GBTA

"We are beyond thrilled to bring GBTA and ACTE together, creating one home for the thousands of business travel professionals who will collectively bring back business travel bigger and better than ever," said GBTA president Bhart Sarin.

As part of the acquisition, two former ACTE board members will join the GBTA global board of directors effective immediately. Alison Taylor, chief customer officer of American Airlines, will fill the remainder of the vacant ALC vice presidency term. Steve Sitto, senior manager of global travel and events for Tesla, will serve the remainder of the vacant direct member at-large role. Both terms will be completed by the GBTA Convention in July 2021.

A new committee led by GBTA chairman Christle Johnson and former ACTE executive director and current DigiTravel Consulting senior vice president Greeley Koch will work on identifying ways to maximize the value a combined GBTA and ACTE can deliver to its members.

"The addition of an amazing brand like ACTE will give GBTA members the absolute best opportunities for education, networking, research and advocacy," said Dave Hilfman, interim executive director of GBTA. "We look forward to combining the best attributes of both associations with our Ready Safe Travel campaign as we continue to advocate for business travel's path to recovery."