Directravel Adds Another Navigant Vet - Business Travel News

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Directravel Adds Another Navigant Vet

January 14, 2014 - 01:00 PM ET

By David Jonas

Directravel Holdings last week named Sam DeFranco president of travel agency Directravel, bringing to the fold another former Navigant International executive. Directravel intends to become a $1.5 billion travel management company focused on midmarket corporate clients.

In a career spanning more than 30 years, DeFranco worked at American Airlines and then McGregor Travel Management—which he eventually co-owned and merged with several other agencies to create Navigant. DeFranco stayed on with Carlson Wagonlit Travel as senior vice president after it acquired Navigant.

"There is a real void in the marketplace today for small to midsize accounts," according to a prepared statement from DeFranco. "Unlike mega agencies, we will deliver a high level of personalized service to every client, regardless of their size."

Private equity investment firm Silver Oak Services Partners in 2011 bought Directravel and placed former Navigant chief Ed Adams at the helm. At the time, Adams told The Beat that he and Silver Oak planned to roll-up some midsize agencies—something Adams had done successfully with Navigant.

The company since has acquired Minneapolis-based Corporate Travel Services and Travel Management Corp. of San Jose, Calif. According to Silver Oak's website, "Directravel is actively looking for complementary add-on investment opportunities in the corporate travel management sector."

In addition to DeFranco and Adams, Directravel's leaders include former Navigant executives John Coffman and Darryl Hoover (Directravel's CFO and chief technology officer, respectively).

DeFranco follows industry veteran Tom Gleason, hired out of retirement as Directravel's leader on an interim basis, according to a company official. Gleason had followed Pat Fragale, who resigned in January 2013 as president of Directravel.

DeFranco also assumes the title of eastern regional president for privately held parent Directravel Holdings.

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