This profile is taken from the upcoming Top 100 Executives 2020 Leaders League special report.
Luis Maroto has been CEO of Madrid-headquartered Amadeus since 2011. Prior to that he was deputy CEO from 2009 to 2011. He was instrumental in Amadeus’ successful IPO in April 2010. Maroto joined Amadeus in 1999 as director, marketing finance – in that role, he was one of the key figures supporting Amadeus’ commercial organization throughout its international expansion, and also supervised the strategic and financial control of over 50 Amadeus subsidiaries around the world. In 2003, he was promoted to chief financial officer (CFO), a role in which he took responsibility for the global Amadeus finance organization.
Advocate of innovation
Maroto is a keen advocate of innovation and this approach has enabled Amadeus to limit the impact of global economic uncertainty. Amadeus spent 17.7 per cent of revenues on R&D in 2019 (amounting to €988 million) meaning Maroto is now leading a company that is ranked as the second-largest R&D investor in the software industry in Europe. Key innovations in 2019 included the launch of the company’s NDC-enabled web services product, Amadeus Travel API – this API integrates with travel agencies’ existing systems and allows agencies to build their own customized travel booking applications for NDC [new distribution capability] content. The product gives airlines greater offer differentiation and travel agencies access to more content and functionality.
In 2019, Amadeus also launched its NDC-enabled Amadeus Selling Platform Connect. This cloud-based booking platform allows travel sellers to shop, order, pay for and service airline travel offers via NDC connectivity. A main advantage for travel sellers is that they can now view and compare all available airline flights and related services for any given trip on one single screen, whether sourced from EDIFACT, NDC or other APIs.
The emphasis Maroto has placed on innovation has played a big part in Amadeus’ substantial growth in recent years – in the two-year period from 2017 to 2019, Amadeus’ revenue grew 20 per cent to €5.6 billion. In 2019 alone, revenue grew by 12.8 per cent, while the company’s IT Solutions revenue grew by 26.2 per cent. EBITDA increased by 10 per cent in 2019 to €2.2 billion.
Maroto has also developed a highly effective business diversification strategy that played a big part in enabling the company to weather the uncertainty caused by the coronavirus pandemic. In 2019, Amadeus’ new businesses grew at a double-digit rate, which contributed substantially to the firm’s solid financial performance. The company achieved significant milestones in the hospitality, airport IT and payments sectors by securing agreements that allowed the business to expand its customer base. The company also acquired ICM Airport Technics, a global leader in self-service bag drop technology and inventor of the self-service Auto Bag Drop, which complements Amadeus’ existing Airport IT offering.
Maroto has proved himself to be somewhat of a visionary. He has a strong conviction that airlines and other travel providers should offer travellers exactly what they want, when they want it – and his vision is that the best way of doing this is by bringing the entire industry together – including providers, intermediaries and sellers – and by using data intelligently by integrating it with new devices. In addition to believing in the key role technology can play in bringing more choice to travel industry customers, Maroto has also placed a heavy emphasis on artificial intelligence and data analytics as a means of offering travellers more options.