Flight Centre’s Dean Smith Set to Retire

Flight Centre Travel Group (FCTG) Americas reports that president Dean Smith (pictured, left) will be retiring at the end of the company’s financial year on June 30, 2020.

Current head of FCTG Americas Corporate Brands, Charlene Leiss (pictured, right) has been appointed to succeed him and will assume his responsibilities effective Jan. 1, 2020.

The announcement was made in conjunction with the company’s parent company revealing that they have expanded their global leadership team to increase its focus on corporate and leisure travel growth. Smith will spend six months in a strategic global leisure role through to June 30, helping to transition the business through various leisure-related transformation initiatives that are currently underway.

John Beauvais, current president of the FCTG Canadian business, will become president, Corporate Brands, Americas. He will be responsible for the strategic direction and growth of the company’s corporate brands including FCM and Corporate Traveller in the USA, Canada and Mexico, and the company’s partner network throughout Latin America and the Caribbean.

After 23 years with the company, Smith felt the timing was right for him to pursue his personal passions.

“It’s been an incredible journey at Flight Centre and I’m truly grateful to have been a part of such a dynamic company in an industry that I am truly passionate about,” said Smith. “I’m very proud of where the Americas business is today, and I’ve had a deeply satisfying career that has allowed me to lead this organization through great progress and achievements. I leave knowing that the fastest growing region within FCTG will be in great hands for many years to come. A trailblazer and a force, Charlene has been an asset to the company throughout her tenure and has played a key role in the company’s successes. I’m confident she is the right person to lead FCTG Americas into the future.”

Leiss brings with her more than 20 years of travel industry experience, initially with Garber Travel before it was acquired by FCTG. As leader of the Corporate Brands in the USA, she has fueled FCTG’s strong growth in the region to year on year record-setting profit. Leiss has been recognized on numerous occasions for her outstanding performance, most recently being named one of GBTA’s WINiT Top 40 Women in Travel.