< PrevNext > Dean Forbes, KDS CEO The T&E Engine That Could By JoAnn DeLuna / December 20, 2016 / Contact Reporter Share "The company was in a tough spot when I joined," Forbes said of the T&E provider he's led for the past seven years. "It's taken a lot, and taken a lot from me personally, to get where we ended up, which is great." KDS has proved a success story in building consumer-friendly tools that are no longer alternatives but now form the preferred way to manage T&E. Proof: Mega travel management company American Express Global Business Travel acquired KDS in October. Thanks to Forbes' decision to sell, the T&E start-up has resources with which to scale up and reach more travel programs with its products.Personally more inclined to innovating than to integrating, Forbes leaves the company this month. But under his direction, KDS spent a lot of time and energy on strategy, innovation and differentiating its products, aiming for "new solutions to old problems." And innovate they did. What we did is make it very clear to our customers and partners who we were as a company and why they should choose us." Within two years of Forbes' arrival, KDS launched Neo, a mobile, automated, door-to-door corporate T&E booking tool with a consumer user experience. Travelers could book flight, hotel and rental car all at once by inputting three factors: origin, destination and arrival time."Of course, those products were not for everyone and not everyone signed up to use them. But what we did is make it very clear to our customers and partners who we were as a company and why they should choose us. … And we started to win more deals once that became understood in the market," Forbes said.KDS's strategy to convince customers was not that it was a better company or product but that it was a better approach to the existing problem. "The market reacted incredibly well to that," he said.