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June 1, 2015

Remembering American Express President Ed Gilligan

On May 29, American Express President Ed Gilligan died suddenly after taking ill on a flight home to New York. The GBTA released the following statement about Gilligan and his work in the meetings industry:
Ed was the recipient of GBTA’s highest honor, the Icon Award, at our annual Convention in 2013. This prestigious honor has only been given six times in our history. It recognizes exceptional contributions to the business travel industry globally.  
Ed’s support of our Association and Foundation was unwavering through the years, both personally and professionally. He was a true industry leader and a guiding hand to us as both the National Business Travel Association (NBTA) and then the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA). Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, Ed was our perennial host for our Monday luncheons during the NBTA International Convention. Convention delegates always looked forward to an encouraging message from Ed and were usually more than amused when he showed his lighter side in videos he created with his talented staff.
Ed was also instrumental as one of the founders of NBTA’s Institute of Business Travel Management, the precursor to our GBTA Foundation. Ed’s commitment on behalf of American Express allowed IBTM’s promise to become fulfilled. Today, our GBTA Foundation provides education and research to thousands of industry professionals. It would not have been possible without his early vision and support.
Ed dedicated more than three decades of service to American Express. He is widely credited with leading American Express into the digital age. As president of American Express Company, he was responsible for the company's global consumer small business services, merchant services and network services businesses.
Ed resided in New York City with his wife Lisa and their four children. We can offer only our sincere condolences to them during this difficult time. He will be greatly missed by everyone he knew, but always remembered for the impact he made on so many in our industry.

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