ASTA’s Gonchar Named VP of American Express Travel Rep Network
By James Shillinglaw
July 12, 2012 12:23 PM
ASTA CEO Tony Gonchar, in a surprise move, has been named vice president of the Representative Network for the American Express U.S. Consumer Travel Network. He will take the post, which oversees American Express’ franchise group travel agencies, effective Aug. 6. The move once again leaves ASTA looking for a CEO. Gonchar had been in the post since December 2010. Meantime, the American Express post had been vacant since March, when Ellen Bettridge, the previous vice president of the Representative Network, resigned to become president of the Americas for Silversea Cruises.
Nina Meyer, ASTA president ahd chairman, who admits Gonchar's move came as a bit of surprise, said the American Express job was a "phenomenal position" that he couldn't afford not to take. "Tony has been a fantastic asset to ASTA and accomplished many of the goals that were set for him," Meyer said. "Now we move forward. In the interim, I'll be acting CEO and we'll establish a search committee. We've laid out the groundwork for the year ahead anyway. We feel as much as it will be challenging [to move on without Gonchar], we're up to the challenge."
For its part, American Express said Gonchar will focus on developing innovative ways to grow the American Express Representative Travel Network, while working closely with the group’s strategic partnerships team to deliver compelling products and services to Representative Network members that bring value to American Express Cardmembers. Gonchar will also work to ensure that franchisees have the capabilities and resources needed to effectively deliver American Express products and extraordinary service to their customers.
Prior to becoming ASTA, Gonchar was executive vice president of sales and marketing at Virtuoso, the luxury travel consortium, where he oversaw the company's member and supplier relationships and orchestrated strategic marketing programs. He also spent seven years at Expedia running its private label and branded partnerships division where he led strategic partnerships and acquisitions and integrations with smaller technology startups and major corporations.