July 15, 2024

Focus Travel Partnership names new CEO

Focus Travel Partnership has appointed Steve Banks as Chief Executive Officer, replacing Abby Penston who left earlier this year to join a leisure travel business in Belgium.

Banks was previously Chief Commercial Officer at Agiito. Following Agiito’s sale to Clarity last November, he was given the role of Executive Director – Commercial.

His earlier career was with Thomas Cook Travel Management, before moving to Lonsdale Travel, which was purchased by Capita plc in 2005. Capita later purchased and consolidated Harry Weeks Travel, BSI, Expotel and NYS Corporate and rebranded as Agiito in 2021.

Banks was also a previous Board member of worldwide travel management consortium, GlobalStar.

He will formally start at Focus on June 3 2024.

Focus was founded in 1999 by a group of 15 TMC members of Advantage Travel Partnership. A not-for-profit business, it now has 52 members with a total turnover of more than £1 billion.

In 2019 the decision was made to establish Focus as a separate entity from Advantage and a five-year non-compete ends in November this year. This means it will no longer be mandatory for Focus TMC partners to also be a member of Advantage.

In January, Focus Chair of the Board of Directors Adrian Parkes retired and was replaced by Bob Schumacher, former United Airlines stalwart.

At the same time, James Parkhouse, the former CEO of Agiito, joined as Non-Executive Director of the Board and last month Focus also appointed Clare Collins, co-owner and Managing Director Corporate Travel at CT Travel Group, to its Board.

Announcing the CEO appointment, Schumacher, said: “Bringing onboard an experienced and strategically driven new CEO was a pivotal goal for the Focus Board of Directors and we are delighted to welcome Steve Banks to lead Focus Travel Partnership into its exciting new chapter.

“With his proven experience in all sectors across core and ancillary travel products, his leadership skills, commercial acumen, and visionary approach, Steve brings a fresh perspective and a wealth of industry insight that will undoubtedly drive the whole Partnership to new levels of excellence.”

Banks added: “I am delighted to be joining Focus Travel Partnership at this pivotal time. With my passion for all things corporate travel, I believe my experience and skillset will be a useful addition to an established and successful consortium working hard on behalf of its members.

“I have always admired the team and purpose of Focus and its partners’ collective position and voice in the corporate travel market. I look forward to leading the consortium to continued growth and success.”