Expedia, Orbitz and Travelocity Leaders to Speak at TravelCom 2003

The Travel Commerce Conference & Expo (TravelCom), the travel industryå‘s defining event for marketing and distribution strategies, announced today that Erik Blachford, president, CEO and director of Expedia, (as of April), Jeffrey G. Katz, chairman, president and CEO of Orbitz and Sam Gilliland, president and CEO of Travelocity.com, will be speaking together on a panel at the 2003 event, being held in New York City at the Hilton NY on April 1-2.

Blachford, Katz and Gilliland will share the same stage for the first time at any conference for a CEO Roundtable on Wednesday, April 2.  They will discuss issues and challenges the CEOs of three of the world`s largest travel agencies face, including supplier relations, merchant model and consumer loyalty. 

“We are honored to have the leaders of Expedia, Orbitz and Travelocity participate together as part of TravelCom’s CEO Roundtable, especially since the event will mark Mr. Blachford’s industry debut in his upcoming role as Expedia’s president and CEO,” said Henry Harteveldt, Co-Chair of 2003 TravelCom and senior analyst for Forrester Research. “We look forward to a spirited discussion that will provide a great value to all TravelCom attendees.”

Erik Blachford

was recently appointed to succeed Richard Barton as president and CEO of Expedia


, beginning in April. Since early 2002, Blachford served as president of Expedia North America, where he was responsible for product development and strategic planning for Expedia’s U.S. and Canadian operations. He joined the Expedia team at Microsoft in 1995 and led the creation of the Expedia brand as senior vice president, marketing.

Jeffrey Katz

is a 20-year veteran airline industry executive and expert in electronic reservations systems technology. As CEO, Katz drives the management and strategic direction of Orbitz

. Prior to joining Orbitz, Katz was president and chief officer of Swissair Group’s core airline unit, Swissair.

Sam Gilliland

was named president and CEO of Travelocity.com

in May of 2002. Prior to his current position, Gilliland served on the board of directors at Travelocity and was executive vice president and chief marketing officer of Sabre.

The Travel Commerce Conference & Expo

is sponsored by Forrester Research and Forbes Magazine and is produced by JD Events. The annual event builds upon TravelCom’s highly successful 2002 show.  The tradeshow is designed to serve as the travel industry event of the year, addressing all segments within the industry.  Influential executives and representatives from leading travel companies across the industry will engage in lively discussions on timely topics, primarily focused on marketing and distribution.