United Names Top Sales Exec As It Recovers From Tough 2020

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United Airlines

Photo Credit: United Airlines

Starting March 1, United Airlines will have a new top salesperson as it looks to rebound from a drop in passengers due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Doreen Burse, the airline’s new SVP of Worldwide Sales, will bring over 30 years of sales to the position the majority of which she gained in the hospitality industry.

When she joins United she will report to Chief Commercial Officer Andrew Nocella and lead United's global sales strategy. Part of this task will be to enhance the airline's existing sales programs while building new corporate partnerships and driving overall revenue.

To do so, Burse will rely on her over 30 years of sales expertise from the hospitality industry, especially her most recent position as the VP of Marriott's Global Sales for the US and Canada. In this role, she led a cross-functional global account team that serves hundreds of accounts, represents about 1,000 associations, 250 corporations, and hundreds of group intermediary partners, travel management companies, retail agencies, and other organizations representing $16 billion in annual spending.

"During her more than 33 years in the hospitality industry, Doreen has been a change agent, showing consistent achievement in leading teams through challenging environments," Nocella said in a press release. "Her results-driven focus, collaborative style and commitment to employee morale and development will help United navigate the evolving needs of corporate customers as they return to the skies in force as the pandemic recedes."

United will need Burse’s sales expertise to help lure back corporate travel clients who may have pressed pause on business travel due to the pandemic. In the fiscal quarter ended September 30, 2020, the airline’s passenger revenue had plummeted 84%, helping to fuel a $1.8 billion loss. However, there is hope as CEO J. Scott Kirby predicted that United return to become cash-flow positive sometime in 2021, in an interview with CNBC.


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