August 6, 2021 • Old Greenwich, Connecticut and Charlotte, North Carolina
smarTours (the “Company”), a provider of direct-to-consumer, value-oriented travel experiences to exotic global destinations, is pleased to announce that Kurt Ekert, Henry Harteveldt, and Noreen Henry have joined the Company’s Board of Directors.
Kurt Ekert has extensive global operating leadership and governance experience with a track record of growth and turnaround performance in technology, travel, and tourism. Mr. Ekert serves as Chairman of the U.S. Department of Commerce Travel & Tourism Advisory Board, Vice Chairman of Passur Aerospace, and Senior Advisor to CWT. Previously, Mr. Ekert was President & CEO of CWT, where he engineered a digital transformation and realized $7 billion of new business wins, and Chief Commercial Officer at Travelport, where he led the operational turnaround that enabled a successful IPO in 2014. Additionally, Mr. Ekert has held executive roles at GTA, Orbitz Worldwide, Cendant, and Continental Airlines. Mr. Ekert holds an MBA from the University of South Carolina and a BS from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.
Henry Harteveldt is an established travel analyst and serves as President of Atmosphere Research Group (“Atmosphere”), which is an independent travel industry strategic market research and advisory firm that Mr. Harteveldt founded in 2011. Prior to Atmosphere, Mr. Harteveldt spent 11 years at Forrester Research, leading its global travel industry research, and more than 15 years in commercial and marketing roles at several leading airlines and travel companies, including Continental Airlines, Fairmont Hotel Management Company, and GetThrere. Mr. Harteveldt is regularly interviewed by journalists at CBS News, CNBC, Reuters, The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, The Times of London, and Handelsblatt. Mr. Harteveldt holds a BS from the Tulane University School of Business.
Noreen Henry is a travel industry veteran with a deep understanding of the travel industry ecosystem. Ms. Henry serves as the Chief Revenue Officer of Sojern, a data-driven direct demand company for travel, where she is responsible for driving revenue through sales, operations, customer retention, and strategic partnerships. Previously, Ms. Henry spent over 10 years at Travelocity, where she held executive roles in product, operations, sales, and partner services. Additionally, Ms. Henry has served as CEO of WayBlazer, Chief Revenue Officer of DHISCO, and Vice President of Intent Media. Ms. Henry is a graduate from Harvard Business School, Advanced Management Program, and holds a BA from the University of North Texas.
“We are very excited to have Kurt, Henry, and Noreen join the smarTours Board of Directors to support our collective vision for the future of the Company,” said Christine Petersen, President & CEO of smarTours. “Kurt, Henry, and Noreen have deep experience and strong relationships throughout the travel industry, and we expect that, as a result, they will make significant contributions to the Company’s growth strategy going forward.”
Summit Park, a private investment firm based in Charlotte, NC, led a recapitalization of smarTours in November 2017. The three new additions to the Board of Directors are consistent with the firm’s strategy of investing in leadership to position the Company for growth.
smarTours is a provider of direct-to-consumer, value-oriented travel experiences to exotic global destinations. Offering allinclusive, curated tours primarily to baby boomers, over 200,000 passengers have traveled with smarTours since the company’s founding in 1996. smarTours offers both pre-packaged tours with pre-set departure dates for individual travelers and customized private tours for 20+ person passenger groups. For more information, visit www.smartours.com.
About Summit Park
Summit Park is a Charlotte, North Carolina-based private investment firm focused exclusively on the lower middle market. The firm invests across a range of industries, including services, consumer, and industrial growth in the Eastern half of the United States. The firm’s capital can be used to facilitate a change in ownership, to support expansion and growth, to provide partial liquidity to existing owners, or to support an industry consolidation plan. For more information, visit www.summitparkllc.com.