, October 4th, 2016
Bret Kidd ’90 is guided by a firm commitment to his priorities: first faith, then family, friends and finally, fortune. In his recent conversation with Business Honors students at Texas A&M’s Mays Business School, he shared how maintaining this order has ensured balance and purpose in everything he undertakes.
Kidd is president of Travelport Americas. His role encompasses strategic direction, financial results and operations of Travelport’s travel agency, travel management company (TMC) and regional online travel agency (OTA) customers throughout North America, the Caribbean and South America.
“I love travel and the travel industry,” Kidd said. “At Travelport, I get to travel a lot – I’ve already been to 13 countries in 2016. But I am also in the business of simplifying the travel process for the industry. Travelport centralizes key data and make it accessible to travel agencies big and small, both online or brick-and-mortar shops.”
Business Honors major Isabel Gonzalez ’18 was engaged by the discussion about global distribution systems like Travelport. “I never knew that there are intermediaries between airlines and travel sites like Expedia,” she said.
Several students asked how Kidd maintains a work-life balance.
“I’ve never missed a day of vacation,” Kidd admitted. “Taking time to unplug mentally and spend time with family is invaluable. Your company can continue to run without you.”
Kidd said he also builds walls around his weekends and disconnects from technology during time with people he cares about. He encouraged students: “Get involved in your church or your community and hold leadership positions. This gives you something else purposeful outside of your job and keeps you from the temptation to overwork.”
While an undergraduate at Texas A&M University, Kidd studied management and was a member of the Business Fellows program. He was also involved in the Wiley Lecture Series, which sparked his interest in politics and opened doors to begin his career working on Capitol Hill.
After graduating from Texas A&M, Kidd served as special assistant to U.S. Senator Phil Gramm, supporting Gramm in a variety of areas, including health care and fiscal/economic matters. His work brought him in touch with dignitaries like Margaret Thatcher, who once was visiting for a fund-raiser. “I even had a conversation in Russian with Mikhail Gorbachev,” Kidd joked of his one-word exchange with the former leader of USSR.