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Solombrino exits GBTA following investigation

Third-party review found no evidence of wrongdoing by CEO, but he agrees to leave ‘to pursue other opportunities'


July 20, 2020
By Walt Williams

Global Business Travel Association CEO Scott Solombrino has agreed to leave the Alexandria, Va.-based organization after an investigation triggered by an anonymous letter turned up no evidence of wrongdoing, the group’s board of directors announced Monday.

Solombrino was put on administrative leave June 19 after the board received an anonymous letter allegedly from current and former association staff claiming the CEO had engaged in a pattern of sexist and abusive behavior. Solombrino has also come under fire for sexist remarks he made during a 2019 conference that took place before he was named GBTA’s top executive in 2019. A number of GBTA members have publicly condemned the alleged conduct and called for a thorough investigation. Some members did not wait for results of an investigation before resigning. 

GBTA’s board hired an outside law firm to investigate the letter. “No misconduct or legal wrongdoing by Mr. Solombrino was found regarding these allegations,” the board said.

However, the board said both its members and Solombrino “agreed that it was time for him to pursue other opportunities.”

GBTA announced in early July it had appointed retired United Airlines executive Dave Hilfman as interim executive director. In a statement, Hilfman thanked Solombrino “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."

Solombrino’s departure comes at a time when GBTA and the global travel industry is reeling from drop in travel caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The association has laid off more than a third of its staff, and recently the group engaged consulting firm MCI USA to undertake an audit of its operations.