Bill Courtney joins CWT as Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer. Based in North Carolina he is the newest member of CWT’s Executive Leadership Team, and a seasoned financial and commercial leader who has been integral in the rise of several companies.
We chat to Bill about his new role, his favorite book and why you should never select a travel management company solely based on cost.
What gets you excited about your profession?
Finance professionals can help teams move from ‘feels like’ to ‘believe’ when considering opportunities by providing analytical insights and modelling. They have the ability to add value to, and enable teams and companies.
What will be your first focus in your new role at CWT?
My first area of focus will be the people of our Global Finance team. The last 18 months have been challenging for everyone. The norms of how we worked changed dramatically and we had to address challenges quickly and nimbly. CWT’s finance team has done an outstanding job of supporting and leading through the uncharted waters of the global pandemic which impacted our industry more severely than many others. I am looking forward to engaging and supporting the team as we move forward in our day-to-day activities, as well as our key programs.
Best financial achievement?
That is a hard decision to make, since there were more than one. During my career I have been fortunate to be a key member of great teams that have enabled several companies with household names come through crisis and rise to the top of their respective industries. These include Delta Airlines through 9/11, Bank of America & Barclays Bank through the financial crisis, Best Buy through its turn around, and Hertz returning to being a public company.
You previously worked both in the banking sector and within the travel industry. What is the most important difference with respect to your role in both industries?
I think both industries have more similarities than people realize. Both provide a service to people, but more importantly, both are technology- dependent industries. Neither can service their customers without strong, state-of-the-art and reliable technology. They are both dynamic with thin margins that require people to stay focused on the business and the industry. Another key similarity for both industries is its employees. How we service our customers and our real time ability to access data to help our customers can set us apart from the competition.
My favorite book is ‘Into Thin Air’ by Jon Krakauer. It is the story about the tragic 1996 Mt Everest climbing season. It is incredibly engaging and draws you in through the bad luck, poor judgement, dynamic environment changes, and the heroics of the leaders and fellow climbers. It is the only book I have read more than once.
What advice would you give to businesses looking for a travel management company (TMC)?
In my role as a finance leader in global companies, I have had to choose business service providers in the past. I learned quickly that it’s critical not to make decisions solely based on cost. There are many factors that I would recommend a business consider including experience, service, platform integrity & reliability and partnership. You clearly want a TMC that understands your company, your people, and your needs. You want a partner, not just a service provider.