gets new boss

After a long and successful tenure as the head of North America’s leading travel services marketing organization, Chief Executive Officer, Dick Knodt is retiring from the company. He will continue to serve in a consultancy capacity to and Amadeus until June 30, 2006.

Industry veteran, Steve Tracas, who has an extensive background in travel industry marketing, sales, business development and customer management, will take the reins as CEO of beginning Monday, April 17th.

“My decision to retire from was not an easy one, especially because of the special relationships I have developed with the members and our industry partners,” said Knodt.  “But with Steve as my successor, backed by 16-plus-year industry veteran and COO Brenda Elliott (six years with, and its members can be assured of continued growth and success.

“I am proud of the strides and accomplishments we have made during my years at,” said Knodt, “but I look forward to tackling new opportunities and achieving new successes in our dynamic industry.”

Knodt took over as President and CEO of in 2001 after serving as the organization’s Chief Operating Officer for the two and a half years prior. He has served in numerous capacities during his three decades in the travel industry.  He has been a multi-location travel agency owner, an educator, a trainer and an industry leader.  He has twice served as the top executive running the American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA), the largest organization representing the interests of the travel agent industry.


“Dick has played an instrumental part in the development and growth of into the largest vacation selling network in North America. Under his leadership, has successfully navigated the changes that have come to the travel industry as well as the travel agency community,” said David V. Jones, Executive Vice President, Commercial, for Amadeus, of which is a wholly owned subsidiary. “Dick has been a staunch supporter of the travel agency community, an area where Amadeus shares his deep commitment.”

“We are confident that Steve will be a strong force in furthering the evolution of the organization and, along with the dedicated team, continue their track record of excellence in serving its agency membership, its travel partners and the travel industry as a whole,” said Jones.

In his new role, Tracas will be based in’s Alexandria, VA headquarters and will be responsible for overseeing and directing all aspects of the organization serving the U.S. and Canada.

Tracas brings to a diverse background and extensive experience in the travel industry. Prior to joining, Tracas served as the President of Orbitz for Business, the online travel agency’s business unit focused on corporate travel.  Tracas has also served as Vice President of Sales and Marketing for US Airways and held a number of management positions during his 19-year career with AMR Corp. including positions with American Airlines and Sabre Group. Tracas holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Aeronautical Technology from Arizona State University in Tempe.