Issa Jouaneh, vice president and general manager of American Express Meetings & Events
American Express Meetings & Events and Maritz Travel Co. are dissolving Maxvantage, the alliance they formed in 2009 to offer end-to-endservices.
The split was announced internally to employees and clients in mid-March and is expected to be complete by mid-May, according to Issa Jouaneh, vice president and general manager of American Express Meetings & Events.
“The decision to dissolve the alliance reflects the evolution of our customers and the separate growth trajectories of our two companies,” Jouaneh said. “The market for SMM has evolved since the alliance was established in 2009 to serve clients who were largely focused on end-to-end SMM. Today, our customers want more options to buy solutions that are tailored to their individual needs across the full meetings management spectrum from sourcing-only solutions to end-to-end programs.”
Jouaneh would not comment on how many client companies are affected by the change, but said their programs will shift to either American Express Meetings & Events or Maritz. “We expect absolutely no disruption in service during the transition.” Only “a handful,” of Maxvantage employees will be laid off, he said.
“What we are promising our clients and our people is that it’s business as usual,” agrees Steve O’Malley, senior vice president & general manager at Maritz Travel. “All the services that we provide will continue, and they can expect all the support that they’ve ever received. While there’s a great deal going on relative to the transition, in terms of what we’re delivering on a daily basis to our clients, there’s no difference.”
Both companies see a positive post-Maxvantage landscape, and plan to offer a comprehensive suite of SMM services. “It’s a change in direction in that we’re ending this alliance, but not a change in direction with regard to where we want to be focused,” O’Malley said. “Our company is really focused on transforming business through people and events. That’s what we do. This is now bringing back into the fold [our SMM] solution set.”
“We have benefited from the Maxvantage alliance,” Jouaneh says. “We increased our capabilities, specifically virtual capabilities, and how we interact with our employees and our clients. We have also applied technology more broadly to meet client needs, and we have expanded our thinking to broader markets and have adapted our solutions to meet evolving client needs.”