Azumano CEO to continue to run leisure business

By Kate Rice
Sho DozonoAfter the sale of Azumano Travel’s corporate travel division to CI Travel of Norfolk, Va., CEO Sho Dozono will continue to own and operate the leisure side of the business, Azumano Travel Services of Portland, Ore.

Dozono is starting a new venture, a partnership with what he called a “leading” online travel agency to fulfill its luxury travel requests. He said that partnership should enable his leisure travel business to double its sales this year to more than $40 million.

He described the new business as a hybrid of an Internet company and an “old-fashioned” brick-and-mortar company.

Azumano has a strong humanitarian tradition; the company organized “Flight for Freedom,” which took 1,000 Oregon residents to New York after 9/11 and operated “Flights of Friendship” to Thailand after the 2004 tsunami that devastated that country and to New Orleans post-Katrina.

Azumano Corporate Travel will operate as a subsidiary of CI Travel, No. 51 on the 2012 Travel Weekly Power List.

CI Travel, which said it has annual sales of $200 million, and Azumano, which reported sales of approximately $125 million last year, are both American Express agencies and met through that affiliation.

The heads of the two companies cited shared corporate cultures, said W. Reed Atkins Jr., president and CEO of CI Travel.

Dozono said he admired that CI Travel is an employee-owned company.

CI Travel hired all of Azumano’s corporate staff, and the employees will continue to work in their current office space. Dozono will serve as an adviser to Atkins.

Dozono said that while the transaction is technically an acquisition because it involved the sale of assets, it will operate more like a merger.

Follow Kate Rice on Twitter @krtravelweekly. 
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