Investigation clears GBTA CEO Solombrino, who departs

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Global Business Travel Association CEO Scott Solombrino, under investigation for alleged workplace misconduct and on administrative leave since June 19, has been cleared by the organization of the allegations. 

“No misconduct or legal wrongdoing by Mr. Solombrino was found regarding these allegations,” the board of directors said in a press statement. 

Still, the association and Solombrino mutually agreed that it was time for him to seek other opportunities, according to the statement, which did not detail a financial exit package or whether such a package exists.

Interim executive director Dave Hilfman, whom GBTA hired during the course of the leadership crisis, thanked Solombrino for his service. “We thank Scott for his 25 years of service to GBTA and his passion and commitment to advancing the travel industry. We wish Scott success in his future endeavors.”

The uproar was triggered by an anonymous email signed “current & former GBTA Staff” alleging misconduct by Solombrino and which circulated among industry insiders last month. Sent to BTN June 12, the letter claims, among other misdeeds, that Solombrino created a hostile working environment for women and racial minorities, and cited “racist, divisive and derogatory comments” against those groups as well as past employees. It also alleged negligence of executive vice president Lisa Censullo and among board members for allowing Solombrino to go unchecked.

GBTA used Polsinelli -- a New York-based law firm that has long represented the association -- to conduct the investigation. Some, including current employees, felt the close ties would compromise objectivity. 

As the investigation wore on, major sponsors and historic partners publicly disavowed the organization and volunteer committees suspended activity. Internally, eight members of GBTA’s senior leadership team, each with titles VP and above, sent a June 20 letter to the board of directors corroborating the anonymous allegations that kicked off the investigation and citing “additional incidents” not detailed in the allegations but that would be relevant to the investigation.

“It needs to be known that the leadership team corroborated the allegations,” said a source close to the issue, who asked not to be identified for fear of retaliation. 

The individual added, however, that many in the organization are simply looking to turn the page on this chapter.

To that end, GBTA last week began an engagement with third party association management company MCI USA to assess the association’s organizational structure and operations.

“We’ve retained them to look at every aspect of what we do, from the role of the board to operations, staffing and human resources, IT, event management and marketing,” said Hilfman in a press statement.
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Source: Business Travel News

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