Travelport set to appoint Hogarth's Julian Walker as comms head

Travelport, the travel technology firm that postponed a £1.2bn London IPO earlier this year, is understood to have hired Hogarth's Julian Walker to head its comms function.

Newly recruited: Travelport appoints Julian Walker
Newly recruited: Travelport appoints Julian Walker

The move to bring in an experienced financial communications specialist will be seen as an indication that the firm's private equity majority owner, Blackstone Group, is continuing to explore options to cut Travelport's $4.1bn debt burden.

Last week, fellow travel reservation systems company Amadeus announced it intended to press ahead with its €1.36bn flotation on the Madrid stock exchange. The announcement promoted press speculation that a successful Amadeus float could see Travelport revive its IPO plans.

Walker, currently a managing director at Hogarth, has over 20 years of City PR experience. He is one of five managing directors at the agency, which this year handed the reins to new chief exec Andrew Jaques after former incumbent John Olsen stepped down.

Walker joined Hogarth in 2007 from Gainsborough Advisory Services, the agency he co-founded in 2003. He joined Hogarth in preference to College Hill, which snapped up fellow Gainsborough co-founders Andy Cornelius and Duncan Murray.

He was previously a managing director at Citigate Dewe Rogerson until 2003, having joined Dewe Rogerson in 1997 before its merger with Citigate. Before this he was in-house head of comms (EMEA region) at Chase Manhattan Bank.

Travelport has worked with Finsbury since its acquisition of Worldspan in late 2006 and Finsbury was leading comms around its pulled float.

The US firm, a Fortune 500 firm, is jointly owned by the Blackstone Group, One Equity Partners, Technology Crossover Ventures and Travelport management.


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