J.D. O’Hara has been named Chief Executive Officer for the Travel Leaders Group. O’Hara’s appointment is effective immediately and follows the departure of Ninan Chacko who has resigned to pursue other opportunities.
O’Hara has served as Travel Leaders Group’s president for the past year and worked closely with Chacko during that time.
Noting that he looks forward to a seamless transition, O’Hara said: “Our focus will be on continuing to excel at what has made Travel Leaders Group great, providing impeccable service to our travellers, the highest quality support and tools to our travel advisors and unsurpassed value to our preferred supplier partners.”
Since rejoining the company a year ago as president, O’Hara has been responsible for managing the company’s operating divisions, as well as mergers and acquisition activities and strategic planning. His focus has been on partnering with the business division leaders to address specific needs of the individual brands, while continuing to enhance the travel advisor and agency value proposition.
His new role will also include oversight of the centre functions including the finance, information technology, supplier relations, human resources, marketing and legal departments, as well as the executive leadership team. He will continue to serve on the Board of Directors.
Michael Batt, chairman of Travel Leaders Group, said: “On behalf of the Board of Directors, I want to thank Ninan for his four years of dedicated service at the helm of Travel Leaders Group. He led our company through a period of phenomenal growth and change and raised the profile of our company across the industry.”
O’Hara said, “I am extremely grateful and excited about the tremendous opportunity to lead such a talented team of professionals and world-class travel advisors. This company has grown to become an industry powerhouse over the last decade and I look forward to our continued evolution as an industry leader.”
Prior to joining Travel Leaders Group in 2018, O’Hara was Senior Partner at Certares Management, LLC, owner of Travel Leaders Group. O’Hara has had a long association with Travel Leaders Group.
He was part of the original management buyout of Carlson Leisure Group from Carlson Companies in January 2008 that eventually led to the formation of Travel Leaders Group and has served a key role in Travel Leaders Group’s ongoing growth since the company’s inception.
In his various operating roles within Travel Leaders Group and as a member of the company’s Board of Directors, O’Hara has had direct oversight of Travel Leaders Group’s vast investment activity, including the mergers and acquisitions of Tzell Travel Group, Nexion Travel Group, Vacation.com, Protravel International, Andrew Harper Travel and ALTOUR.
As the company sought to expand beyond its core U.S. footprint, O’Hara led Travel Leaders Group’s international growth strategy with the acquisitions of Mexico-based Corporate Travel Services, and UK-based agencies Colletts Travel and Barrhead Travel, as well as event services company, YES.
Prior to joining Travel Leaders Group, O’Hara served in the investment banking industry at Lehman Brothers in New York. He received a Master of Business Administration from Vanderbilt University and a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Waterloo, Ontario, Canada.