Tributes for business travel icon

By Bev Fearis, published 8/07/20

Tributes have poured in for David Radcliffe, the former Chief Executive of Hogg Robinson Group, who died on Saturday aged 67.

Radcliffe joined Hogg Robinson in 1978, leading the management buyout in 2000 and then taking the business public again in 2006. He continued to serve as a Non-Executive Director of the combined business following Amex GBT’s acquisition of HRG two years ago. He was also a Non-Executive Director of Wincanton.

GBT Chief Executive Paul Abbott said Radcliffe had dedicated his life to the travel business.

“His passion and determination created opportunities for many thousands of people around the world. We have been honoured to have David on our board since the acquisition of HRG, and are proud to carry his legacy forward,” said Abbott.

Matthew Pancaldi, VP, Global Accounts and Government at American Express Global Business Travel, added: “David was an inspirational leader and the driving force behind the unique HRG culture and success. I am truly grateful for the opportunity he gave me to be part of that incredible journey and will miss him.”

David Scowsill, former President and CEO of the World Travel & Tourism Council, said David was an iconic force in the travel industry. “His personality drove lasting relationships with suppliers and customers alike, as he led the company with panache ultimately to an acquisition by American Express GBT,” he said.

“His wry sense of humour made him popular with those that he dealt with, and you could rely on him to always speak his mind. As a supplier to Hogg Robinson when I was at British Airways and American Airlines, he was always direct to the CEOs Colin Marshall and Bob Crandall when he felt the need. And they listened. He will have been happy not to have still been at the helm in the current corporate travel crisis. Or perhaps not, as he always enjoyed a challenge."

Peter Kite, Director at Kite Travel Consultancy, said: “David was a big personality with big ideas and a unique ability to make things happen. It was an honour to have worked for him he was a huge influence on my life, a great leader and human being."

Ian Windsor, who worked with David at HRG for more than 40 years, said: “His passion for the company and its people was second to none and it showed many times around the boardroom table as others can testify. I count myself blessed to have had his influence in my life, professional and personal, for the amount of time I did."

Former HRG colleague Daniel Raine, now Founder of Unlocked Data, said: “I relished the cut and thrust of working with, and being mentored by David. I have so much respect for his dedication, energy and stamina. It is difficult to appreciate the sacrifice and burden it takes to lead, and be the figurehead, of a business of that size for so long. David cared so much about the people in the Hoggs family and created an authentic culture of respect, care, friendship, innovation and opportunity, that went far deeper than any corporate slogan and persists today across the Hoggs family."

Alison Proud, Head of Client Relationships at Inntel, said: “I loved my 26 years working for HRG, the company David ensured was one big family, each and every one of us. I remember meeting him once in the office during my early years and saying “I don’t expect you to know who I am” and he replied “I know who you are Alison”! That impressed me so much and showed his passion for the people who worked at HRG, whatever level your position was."

David leaves his wife Paula, two children Danielle and Mark, and four grandchildren.