CWT’s executive leadership team features more than 250 years’ combined experience in all facets of global travel, hospitality, logistics, technology, and the law. They have set a winning strategy that our clients and their employees can count on to help them keep moving and deliver travel management services that drive bottom line results.
Kurt Ekert was appointed President & CEO of CWT in April 2016.
He has more than twenty years’ experience in global travel, tourism and technology, with leadership and governance positions at Cendant, Continental Airlines, eNett, GTA, Orbitz Worldwide, and Travelport. Kurt also serves as Vice Chairman of the U.S. Department of Commerce Travel & Tourism Advisory Board, is a director of Carlson Inc., Passur Aerospace, the World Travel & Tourism Council, and the UNGA Global Partnership to End Violence Against Children, and is an advisor to Freebird Inc.
He holds a B.S. from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, an MBA from the University of South Carolina, and saw active duty as a US army officer.
Patrick Andersen is Executive Vice President & Chief Strategy and Commerce Officer. Reporting to the President & Chief Executive Officer, he is a member of the global Executive Leadership Team.
He joined CWT in 2008 and has over 30 years’ experience in global travel & logistics, with various international leadership roles at Deutsche Post Worldwide and DHL. Patrick also serves as a Non-Executive Member of the Board at Qliro Group.
He studied at Denmark’s Rungsted Statskole, and holds an MSc from the London Business School.
Lauren Aste is Executive Vice President & General Counsel. Reporting to the President & Chief Executive Officer, she is a member of the global Executive Leadership Team.
She joined CWT in 2007 and has more than 20 years’ experience global travel and law, with various international leadership roles in Dechert LLP and Chadbourne & Parke LLP. Lauren also serves on the board of the World Childhood Foundation USA.
She received her Juris Doctor from New York University School of Law, holds an MA from New York University Graduate School of Arts and Science, and a BA from Wellesley College. She is admitted as a Solicitor to the Supreme Court of England and Wales and is a member of the New York and Connecticut State Bars.
Niklas Andréen is Executive Vice President & Chief Traveler Experience Officer. Reporting to the President & Chief Executive Officer, he is a member of the global Executive Leadership Team.
He joined CWT in 2018 and has over 15 years’ experience in global travel, tourism and technology, with various leadership roles at Travelport. Prior to joining the travel industry, Niklas founded two businesses and held consulting positions with Accenture, Connecta and Monitor Company. He is a former Advisory Board Member of the Cornell University Center for Hospitality Research.
He holds an MSc from the Stockholm School of Economics.
Dave Falter is President of RoomIt, CWT’s specialist hotel distribution division. Reporting to the President & Chief Executive Officer, he is a member of the Global Executive Leadership Team.
He joined CWT in 2017 and has more than 35 years’ experience in global travel and technology with various leadership roles at, amongst others, Acorn Growth Partners, Galileo, and Yapta. Dave also serves as a Director of BizPay.
He holds degrees with honors from Miami University of Ohio (BA), the University of Virginia (MA), and the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University (MBA).
Michelle Frymire is Executive Vice President & Chief Financial Officer. Reporting to the President & Chief Executive Officer, she is a member of the Global Executive Leadership Team.
She joined CWT in 2019 and has 18 years’ travel industry experience, with CFO roles at Starwood Vacation Ownership and Delta Technology (a division of Delta Airlines), and financial leadership roles with Delta Air Lines, Continental Airlines and American Airlines. In addition, she has held CFO positions at US Risk Insurance Group, LLC and Service King Collision Repair. Michelle serves as a member of the Texas Women’s Foundation Economic Leadership Council and is on the Board of Directors for Family Gateway.
She holds a bachelor’s degree, in economics, from Austin College, Texas and an MBA, in finance and accounting, from the McCombs School of Business at The University of Texas.
A 25+ year veteran of information technology, John Pelant assumed the role of Executive Vice President and Chief Technology Officer of CWT, in November 2019. He previously served as the CIO for Carlson Wagonlit Travel and has long been a member of the product and technology leadership team. Based in Minneapolis, he boasts a long history of global responsibility for IT systems, including technological innovation.
Since joining CWT in 1991, he has held various leadership positions, with both global and Americas remits, and is at the forefront of helping deliver the company’s digital strategy to simplify corporate travel for our clients and their employees.
In addition to his IT role at CWT, John serves as a board member for the Orphaned Starfish Foundation, technical advisor to Thorn, and he leads the CWT Responsible Business program in the Americas and global technology organizations.
John has a BSc from St John’s University, and an MBA from the University of St Thomas. He is also a Carlson Fellow, having been honored and recognized for outstanding business achievement.
Kelly L. Kuhn is CWT’s Chief Customer Officer. Reporting to the President & Chief Executive Officer, she is a member of the global Executive Leadership Team.
Kelly joined CWT in 1989 and has 30 years’ experience in global travel, and her current remit includes Global Program Solutions (GPS), our Sales Regions, Global Partners Network, Military & Government, Energy Resource & Marine (ERM), Meetings & Events, and Sales Operations.
She holds a BA (mus) from Northwestern University.
Catherine Maguire-Vielle is Executive Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer (CHRO). Reporting to the President & Chief Executive Officer, she is a member of the global Executive Leadership Team.
Catherine joined CWT in 2006 and has 20 years’ experience of global travel and the law, having previously been Assistant General Counsel, and a Solicitor with Clifford Chance.
Catherine gained a Bachelor of Laws from the University of Sheffield and completed her professional legal qualifications (LPC) at the College of Law, in York, England.
Chris Vukelich is Strategic Advisor to the CWT Executive Leadership Team. Reporting to the President & Chief Executive Officer, he also acts as a mentor and advisor to leaders of strategic initiatives and select projects.
Chris joined CWT in 2017 and has over 40 years’ experience in global travel, hospitality and finance, with leadership positions in British Airways, Egencia, eNett, First USA Bank, Hilton International, and Travelport.
He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Business, Management and Marketing from Duquesne University, Pittsburgh.