Travel Counsellors for Business has recruited its first managing director following a period of record growth.

Kieran Hartwell has previously worked as chief commercial officer for US-based Travel and Transport and as president for global travel management company Radius Travel.

His appointment comes as the company saw its corporate travel arm delivering 17% growth in 2019 with sales of £180 million globally.

Travel Counsellors total transaction value surpassed £650 million last year for the first time since its launch in 1994, with total sales in 2020 expected to exceed £700 million.

Hartwell follows the appointment of Mark O’Donoghue as Travel Counsellors’ first chief operating officer earlier this year and the secondary management buyout from private equity company Vitruvian Partners in 2018.

Hartwell’s role will include shaping strategy to scale Travel Counsellors for Business over the next five years, identifying the right investments to support its growing network of corporate travel specialists and clients, and acting as the global leader for the corporate travel arm.

More than 1,900 independent travel business owners, including over 800 corporate travel specialists across the globe, use Travel Counsellors support platform to provide personalised corporate travel and booking options to 400,000 customers a year, operating a franchise business model.

Hartwell said: “I’m delighted to join a forward-thinking, high-growth company with a very special culture and focus on people.

“The business has a proven track record in providing the very best support model for travel management professionals, who in turn are committed to providing outstanding personalised experiences for their portfolio of corporate clients.

“Its recent successes show that we have the solid foundations in place to significantly scale this arm of the business, supporting our corporate travel business owners, many of whom are now using the company’s platform to provide enhanced client experiences through employing assistants  and working in teams and shared workspaces, ultimately building their own successful travel management businesses.

“With no limits to growth for corporate travel counsellors, I’m pleased to be an active part of the TC community and work with the incredible talent across the business to drive our corporate travel offering forward.”

Chief executive Steve Byrne added: “Kieran’s appointment is evidence of our commitment to recruiting the very best talent from across the globe to support our business owners, so they can provide the best experiences possible for their clients.

“We are focused on providing a platform that supports a global community to be the very best they can be, alongside a clear, unwavering commitment to champion the human touch and redefine what personal service means in both leisure and corporate travel.

“We’re delighted that we have found someone in Kieran that shares our values and will drive forward our plans to build on the continued success of Travel Counsellors for Business by further improving our offering for corporate businesses and attracting more TMCs to be part of our community and use our model to support their clients and build their businesses.”