Travelport has raised its shareholding in Australian tech start-up Locomote to 55% and installed a new chief executive.
The travel commerce giant originally took 49% of the Melbourne-based corporate travel and expense platform in 2013 but has now become its majority shareholder.
Terms of the deal were not disclosed but Travelport group vice president for global accounts and corporate development, Sandra McLeod, becomes chief executive of Locomote as part of the arrangement.
Locomote founder and current chief executive, Philip Weinman, becomes Travelport’s vice chairman and chief financial officer, Philip Emery, becomes chairman. McLeod transfers to her new role in Melbourne in the new year after 25 years at Travelport in a variety of positions.
Australian technology entrepreneur Weinman will also provide broader strategic counsel and guidance to Travelport on its wider mobile and digital services strategy, the company said.
Travelport president and chief executive, Gordon Wilson, said that after Travelport’s initial investment in Locomote in 2013, the move to a majority stake was consistent with an ongoing drive to develop new digital services and mobile capabilities for the travel industry.
He said: “Corporate travel needs and demands, content, and the demographic make-up of travellers are all changing rapidly. Travelport intends to be at the forefront of these changes as we deploy our content and technology assets to address them.
“Locomote, which approached the market with a clean slate and a fresh approach, is a key part of how we envision the future. What has been done here is consistent with the vision that Philip Weinman and I mapped out together when we first began our association in 2013.
“Philip Weinman moving into the vice chairman role means that we will continue to benefit from his incredible business acumen, energy and insights into corporate travel technology and innovation.
“However, it also means that he will have more time to focus on providing counsel and advice to me and the rest of the team as we move forward with our digital services strategy on a global basis.
“I am also pleased that we have been able to further strengthen the Locomote board by appointing Philip Emery as chairman.
“Not only will the business benefit from the contribution Philip will make as a key member of my global management team, but the appointment will create greater connectivity between Locomote and our other digital assets such as mobile travel commerce provider MTT and our B2B payments company, eNett,” said Wilson
Weinman said: “We’re excited to be strongly aligned with a global leader in the travel technology industry, which shares our vision and with whom we have now successfully partnered for two years to bring new and innovative products to the market.
“Moreover, I have worked closely with Sandra McLeod over this time and I strongly believe that her background and experience will be instrumental in taking Locomote through its next phase of growth while maintaining its entrepreneurial flair.”