Dick Knodt, an industry veteran who twice
served as ASTAs top executive, left the top post at Vacation.com
last week after eight years with the operation, most of the last
five as CEO.
He will be
succeeded by Steve Tracas, most recently president of Orbitz for
Business, effective April 17. Knodt will stay on as a consultant
Knodt said that
he and Amadeus, parent of Vacation.com, had been planning his
departure for some time, but that he stayed on until Amadeus could
identify the right person to take over.
Knodt said Tracas
comes with a strong marketing and technology background, and that
technology is not my strong suit.
Tracas, in sales
and marketing roles at US Airways, American Airlines and Sabre
gained experience that brought him in close association with the
retail travel agent industry, said Debbie Iannaci, Amadeus manager
of public relations.
background, which also includes e-commerce and technology, is a key
asset in implementing strategies to take Vacation.com forward, she
Knodt, who comes from the retail travel business, said his tenure
at Vacation.com had been the most interesting and fun thing Ive
He added: The era
of day-to-day operations are over for me.
Knodt called the
timing of his departure absolutely good and said he would do all I
can to help Amadeus and Vacation.com.
He did not rule
out further involvement with Vacation.com at some later
Knodt and Tony
McKinnon (chairman of Online Vacation Center and former Amadeus
CEO) founded Travel Associates Network (TAN) in 1998 and began
buying up consortia, aiming to achieve strength in
Around the same
time, Andrew McKee, a Boston-based entrepreneur, created
Vacation.com and began buying up consortia with a similar goal in
mind but with the added ingredient of technology for
In 1999, TAN
bought Vacation.com, saying the attraction was Vacation.coms
technology, name and the promise of a faster growth rate. A little
more than year later, Amadeus bought Vacation.com.
Knodt said that if Amadeus new owners, which acquired the company
in 2005, decide to sell Vacation.com, he would be interested in
working with an investor group to buy the business, but not in
Knodt said he did
not expect Vacation.com to be spun off anytime soon, and an Amadeus
spokeswoman said that Vacation.com will continue to be an important
part of the Amadeus portfolio.
co-owns Special Interest Cruises with his cousin, Howie Knodt. The
agency, based in Chula Vista, Calif., is a longtime family
business. He is also a shareholder in Online Vacation Center, based
in Plantation, Fla.
Knodt said last
week he had not determined his next career move but said it would
be in the travel business in one way or another.
the reporter who wrote this article, send e-mail to Nadine Godwin
at [email protected].