As Chairman of the Supervisory Board, Ralf Usbeck focusses on the company's strategic and innovative orientation. As CEO of Peakwork from 2009 to 2017, he led the company to grow from 5 to more than 200 colleagues.
In November 2013, Ralf Usbeck was awarded the international ‘Serial Innovator of Travel Technology’ award at the World Travel Market in London.
How did it all start? At the age of 23, Ralf founded Usbeck-Engineering GmbH, a company that managed the development of graphical information systems. In 2000, the company rebranded to TravelTainment and under the leadership of Ralf, one of the leading German Internet Booking Engines, consulting software for travel agents, as well as dynamic packaging solution were created. Six years later, in 2006, Ralf sold TravelTainment to Amadeus and as CEO of the Amadeus Leisure Group, he was dedicated to boosting the company’s worldwide leisure business.
As CEO of Peakwork, Ralf continued to innovate: Peakwork has developed the Exchange Data Format EDF, a uniform data format for all travel offers, as well as the innovative Player Hub Technology. Today, the largest tour operators worldwide, as well as incoming agencies, metasearch companies and airlines, all work with the Player Hub Technology.
Jan Gerlach is CEO of Peakwork, focused on strategic development, sales and global expansion. Prior to his appointment in October 2017, Jan was Chief Sales & Marketing Officer, responsible for the distribution of Peakwork solutions and customer implementation. Jan joined the team in August 2016 as Vice President Project and Key Account Management.
Jan Gerlach has spent more than 10 years in various management positions at Metro Cash and Carry HQ, in particular in the field of category management and marketing. Previously, he was a strategy consultant at OC&C Strategy Consultants. He graduated in Business Administration at the WHU in Vallendar, the US and France.
As Chief Operating Officer and co-founder of Peakwork, Michael Schmidt is responsible for both technical account management and project management. He keeps an eye on existing projects as well as focusing on the continuous development of customer relations through new strategic projects. With extensive experience of Peakwork’s operations, he understands most of the company’s strategic business areas, as over time he has been responsible for Product Development, Operations, Communications and more. Since 2009, Michael has led the company to grow from 5 to more than 200 colleagues.
Working for nearly 20 years in the travel technology business, Michael Schmidt started his career at Traveltainment, responsible for both the Project and Product Management divisions, playing a major part in the development of several new strategic products and projects.
Dr. Thomas van Kaldenkerken
In June 2015, Dr. Thomas van Kaldenkerken joined Peakwork, strengthening the management team in his new role as CFO. His focus is on company finances, HR and supporting strategic company development. His move from the Peakwork supervisory board (2013-2015) into the management team means Peakwork can benefit from his first-rate expertise in strategic company management and expansion strategies.
Dr. Thomas van Kaldenkerken has first-class knowledge and extensive experience from his role as Managing Director in international strategy in the consumer goods industry. The Doctor of Economics previously led the international expansion of Schleich where he still acts as a member of the advisory board.
Annika Kessel is Chief Digital Officer of Peakwork and responsible for business development with a focus on digital topics such as global expansion through strategic partnerships. Her new role will also encompass responsibility for Peakwork frontend solutions. She also holds the position of Managing Director of Peakwork Inc. in the USA. Prior to her appointment in October 2017, as Senior Vice President Global Business at Peakwork, Annika was responsible for global business development and ecommerce products, focusing on international expansion into new markets such as the Americas and China, as well as building strategic partnerships with metasearch and other global online players, to increase the benefits and platform efficiency for all partners in the Player Hub Network.
Annika joined Peakwork in 2014. Prior to that, she has held several senior positions at the hotel start-up OTA now known as Secret Escapes (formally JustBook Mobile), at the United Nations as a business consultant and with the European tour operator, DER Touristik, working in strategy and dynamic travel packaging. She has gained experience and university degrees in Germany, Canada, and the US, including in Silicon Valley at Stanford University.
Andreas Damm was appointed Chief Operating Officer at Peakwork in October 2017. In this position, he is responsible for customer and project management. His profound expertise for many years in managing business units adds great value to structuring Peakwork’s operations.
Andreas Damm joined Peakwork in March 2017 as a consultant and impressed the team with his analytical view on strategy and products as well as project management processes. Prior to his engagement at Peakwork, he held various senior management positions at Vodafone and Lebara. He studied in Darmstadt and Helsinki and holds a Master in Business Administration and Computer Science.
As Chief Product Officer, Joao Gonzaga is responsible for Peakwork's product portfolio, improvement of innovation processes and for the end-to-end customer experience, ensuring timely launches of new products and features according to the Peakwork strategy and roadmap. To secure the stringent implementation of the company strategy, Joao has also taken over the role of Chief Technology Officer and is responsible for the software development and IT. He joined Peakwork in October 2017.
Prior to joining Peakwork, Joao Gonzaga was a senior executive and entrepreneur with over 20 years’ experience in building products in telecommunications, technology and internet industries. In a number of high-impact roles (CTO, COO, CPO and CEO), both at national and international level - Germany and USA - Joao led the development of top-rated products and services for mobile operators, brands and advertising agencies with regards to their mobile strategy and execution. Major clients included Vodafone, Deutsche Telekom, Coca Cola, Qualcomm, Samsung, BlackBerry, ESPN, MTV, Starwood Hotels, and Saatchi & Saatchi.
Markus Pfau focuses on software innovations at Peakwork. He is the expert behind some of the most important lines in the terabytes of Peakwork code. He is a co-founder of Peakwork and from 2009, acted as CTO responsible for the development team until October 2017.
Prior to his career at Peakwork, Markus Pfau was an entrepreneur in the fields of robotics and 3D graphics programming before he joined TravelTainment in 2002. As Director of Research & Development, he was a major force behind significant technological developments such as dynamic packaging.
While studying economics Oliver founded silversurfer7 in 1999 as a full service web agency. In the next years he accompanied companies in retail and tourism sector to do successful B2B and B2C projects. Since 2003 the main focus is on touristic customers getting connected to travel technology. 2015 silversurfer7 became part of the peakwork company network.
Manuel Saballus is an experienced specialist in the field of dynamic packaging engines and travel technology. At Peakwork, he is responsible for international business development and consulting in the fields of packaging solutions for Airlines, Tour Operators, OTA’s and Metasearch companies.
Stefan Otlinghaus joined Peakwork in December 2018 as our Vice President Business Development. In this position, he is responsible for the expansion of the Peakwork Leisure Travel Network through new strategic partners and customers.
Stefan brings 25 successful years of international Business Development and B2B sales experience gained with companies including Cisco, Hewlett-Packard and more. As Head of Business Development at Cisco, he was responsible for the company’s expansion by maximizing customer value in markets across Europe, Middle East, Africa and Russia.
With a degree in business informatics, Stefan has an extensive understanding of the partners business, technical requirements and knows exactly how to discover and implement new revenue streams for higher business results.
Christian Andersen is Director Flight at Peakwork. He is responsible for strategic flight planning and the development of flight operators in the network. This includes the connection of new airlines, consolidators, flight brokers, flight suppliers and strategic IT partners. Christian advises Peakwork’s flight suppliers how to optimize sales and dynamic packaging using Peakwork technology.
Christian joined Peakwork in October 2013. Prior to this, he worked at TravelTainment for about five years as an airline specialist and flight product manager, particularly responsible for the strategic alignment of the company’s flight sector. During this time, Christian accompanied numerous airlines and consolidators on their way to touristic distribution - both in flight-only sales and dynamic packaging. He understands the airline business from many years of experience: He worked at LTU International Airways for more than 13 years, most recently as Coordinator Distribution Systems & Interline Affairs, so the needs and requirements of the airline distribution systems are very well known to him.
Dominik is Director Accommodation & Ancillary Services at Peakwork. He joined Peakwork in May 2015 and has since developed the accommodation offerings, as well as Ancillary Service Connectivity – including Insurances, Car Rentals, Activietes and Transfers.
Dominik comes from the Wholesale Segment and spent prior to Peakwork six years in various management positions with Tourico Holidays, in particular in the field of Sales and Business Development.
Dimo Pashov is a seasoned professional with broad knowledge of the Leisure Travel Industry and proven track record in Sales and Sales Management across multiple business verticals. As Head of Sales EMEA, he is responsible for sales in Europe, Middle East and Africa, with a focus on strengthening and expanding the Player-Hub network and securing new strategic partners and clients across these regions. Dimo has held various managerial positions at TeamAmerica, Tourico Holidays, TravelStoreMaker.com Inc. and others, where he has gained over 15 years of experience in Direct Sales, New Market Acquisition, Business Development and Account Management.
Gabriel Seijo Leiro
Gabriel Seijo Leiro has joined Peakwork in 2015. Since then he has been involved in projects for the Player Hub Network such as Bedfinder, Google, Expedia, Facebook & Co. He represents Peakwork in the Americas together with our Sales Team and works on solutions and strategies for our partners based on the Player-Hub Technology.
Before joining Peakwork, Gabriel has been working in in different positions within the Travel Tech Industry right after finishing his business and communication degrees in Spain and Germany.
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