The Guild of Travel Management Companies (GTMC) has announced Virgin Atlantic sales general manager Paul Wait will be its new chief executive.

Wait will leave Virgin Atlantic at the end of the year and take over as head of the GTMC at the start of January.

Former GTMC head Anne Godfrey left at the end of July.

Wait is well-known in the leisure sector as well as in business travel after 13 years at Virgin Atlantic as general manager of UK and worldwide sales.

However, he is the second high-profile departure from Virgin Atlantic in a month. The carrier’s chief executive, Steve Ridgway, announced in September that he plans to leave next year.

GTMC chairman Ajaya Sodha said: “Paul brings many years of experience in the business travel sector and already knows the GTMC, its members and partners well.

“It is vital the GTMC has a strong communicator with a strategic outlook and extensive contacts in every facet of business travel, and we feel Paul has this in abundance.”

Wait said: “I’m delighted and excited to have been given the opportunity to represent and lead the GTMC – an association renowned for its resilience, professionalism and ability to evolve in one of the most vibrant and dynamic industries.

“I plan to build on the momentum the GTMC has established – particularly in being the voice of business travel in Westminster.”

He added: “Naturally, I’m sad to be leaving Virgin Atlantic. It’s a great company and it has been 13 action-packed years.”

The new GTMC chief executive spent 28 years with American Express before joining Virgin Atlantic.

GTMC member companies dominate the UK business travel sector, accounting for about 80% of UK corporate travel spending.