Traveltek founder and CEO Kenny Picken to retire

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Kenny Picken. Founder of Traveltek
Kenny Picken

Coming just a week after the resignation of senior vice president of sales Francis Riley, Traveltek’s founder and CEO Kenny Picken has now announced his plans to retire after sixteen years of leading the Scottish tech firm, amid the company’s leadership restructure.

Explaining the reasons for his decision, Picken, said: “When we first set out, our ambition was to become ‘the system of choice’ within the UK. Fairly soon thereafter we had accomplished that, and more. Based on the success of the platform, I knew there was scope for us to grow the business further, on a global scale. It was that realisation that led me to take on investment from equity partners YFM back in 2016.

“Entirely new senior management team”

“Since then, we’ve been pursuing a very ambitious expansion plan. And two years on, we’ve undergone a sizeable transformation, particularly in the last twelve months. We now have an entirely new senior management team at the helm. And YFM are still on-board too, which I think is a great sign of their commitment to the company’s continued success.

“We’ll be looking to appoint a new CEO in the coming months and at that point, I’ll step down. Our newly appointed Chairman, Chris Noblet, will remain on the board following my departure and will assume operational control until such time as my successor is up and running.”

Kenny continued: “Of course, Traveltek will always have a place in my heart. I will retain a significant interest in the company following my departure, so I can’t wait to see how the tech develops. But, equally, I’m looking forward to being able to take my foot off the gas and to let someone else take the reins. While my last day will undoubtedly be a sad one, I’m excited to see what the future holds.”

“Nothing short of remarkable”

New company chairman Chris Noblet, said: “The business that Kenny has grown, from a standing start, is nothing short of remarkable. He identified that there was a more efficient way for travel businesses to manage their operations and he set about building a software solution to suit; a solution that is now adopted by many of the industry’s leading firms.

Kenny has been the driving force and the personality of the business for a long time and he’ll be missed by myself and by all of the team at HQ and across our international hubs. Kenny will remain active in his role whilst we search for a new CEO, to ensure a smooth hand-over.”

Noblet went on to add: “On behalf of everyone at Traveltek, I would like to thank Kenny for his tremendous hard work and dedication, without which the company certainly wouldn’t be where it is today. Suffice is to say, it won’t be the same place without him. That said, the strength and commitment of the team Kenny is leaving behind is perfectly placed to assume the mantle and it’s full steam ahead this year to elevate the company to headier heights.”


Phil Astall New Traveltek COO
Phil Astall

The announcement comes following a restructure in the company’s leadership which has included the departure of senior VP of sales Francis Riley last week, after a successful 12 months where the former Norwegian Cruise Line executive more than doubled sales.

Long time COO Kirsty Orr was replaced by Phil Astall, after 12 years, in November 2018.

Discussing the Traveltek leadership reshuffle at the time of Riley’s resignation,  Picken, said: “In the last few months, we’ve completely re-structured the senior management team. We’ve brought in a new COO to take on the day-to-day running of the business.

“Phil [Astall] joins our also recently appointed and highly experienced CTO, Kenny Millar. Cressida Sergeant has proved herself to be a tremendous asset to the business in a very short space of time and her appointment to CCO is testament to that. We have ambitious growth plans and while not without it’s challenges, I think it’s a really exciting time for the business and everyone involved. Suffice is to say that we have an extremely strong team at the helm.”
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