The US owner of Barrhead Travel and Colletts Travel has created the role of president and drafted in a former senior executive to take the position.

Travel Leaders Group named J D O’Hara in the new role, reporting to CEO Ninan Chacko.

O’Hara moves from travel and hospitality investment and management company Certares Management, where he was senior partner.

He was part of the original management buyout of Carlson Leisure Group from Carlson Companies in January 2008 and had a key role in Travel Leaders Group’s 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 while at Certares, O’Hara has had direct oversight of the group’s investment activity.

This has included the acquisitions of Tzell Travel Group, Nexion Travel Group, Vacation.com, Protravel International, Andrew Harper Travel, CruCon Cruise Outlet, as well as Travel Leaders Group’s recent merger with Altour.

O’Hara led Travel Leaders Group’s international growth with the acquisitions of Mexico-based Corporate Travel Services, and UK-based agencies, Colletts Travel and Barrhead Travel.

He will oversee and work closely with brand presidents to address specific needs of each division, as well as continue to enhance the travel advisor and member agency value proposition, according to the company.

Chacko said: “J.D.’s significant travel industry experience, intimate knowledge of our brands, and strategic thinking will serve us well as we move into the next chapter of our company’s development.

“He brings to the task not only wide business experience, but a passionate commitment to the success of our travel advisors and member agencies.
“J.D. is a savvy and analytical business leader with a long track record of advocating for travel advisors.

“In the coming year, he will be integral to our plans as we focus on enhancing our standing as the leader in premium travel service, as well as enriching our support and service to our advisors and agency community.”

O’Hara added: “I am thrilled to be rejoining Travel Leaders Group at this exciting time and to have the opportunity to help accelerate the momentum that the company has enjoyed over the years.

“I look forward to bringing my experience to help build an even stronger and brighter future for the thousands of employees and travel advisor constituents that make us the industry leader that we are.”

He adding that one of his first priorities will be to visit as many locations and engage with as many employees, advisors and agency owners as possible.

“This is truly a talented collection of people and I’m absolutely honoured to be back working with such an amazing team on a daily basis.”