Michelle Peluso, W '93

2008 Joseph Wharton Award for Young Leadership

Michelle Peluso, W '93
President & Chief Executive Officer
Travelocity Global

Michelle Peluso has a service level agreement with herself: answer any email that she receives from an employee within 24 hours and reply directly to all customer emails that land in her inbox. She is so committed to Travelocity's "customer championship," philosophy, that she led the rollout of The Travelocity Guarantee, a one-of-a-kind consumer proposition that puts these principles to the test everyday.

A distinctive entrepreneurial spirit drives Peluso - whether it's cultivating relationships with Travelocity's supplier and distribution partners, or exploring innovation opportunities with employees around the globe. Prior to her appointment as Travelocity's CEO in December 2003, Peluso served as the company's chief operating officer and senior vice president of product strategy and distribution. Under Michelle's leadership, Travelocity has seen a significant turnaround in both growth of revenue and profitability.

Peluso launched Travelocity's innovative net rate hotel program, spearheaded Travelocity's emergence as a global player with the acquisitions of lastminute.com and ZUJI and recently was involved in the build-out of the company's newest dreaming and planning tool, ExperienceFinder. Peluso joined Travelocity following the company's acquisition of Site59, a travel site she launched in 2000. Site59 became the leader in the US "last minute deals" arena and won numerous honors for innovation, before it was acquired by Travelocity in March 2002. Prior to leading Site59, Peluso served as a White House Fellow and Senior Advisor to Labor Secretary Alexis Herman and worked as a case leader for The Boston Consulting Group.

Peluso has been tapped as an executive to watch by Forbes and The Wall Street Journal, and has been featured in several "40 under 40" lists, including Crain's list in 2008. She has been recognized by the National Italian American Foundation with the Special Achievement Award in Business, and was also named a Young Global Leader for 2008 by the World Economic Forum. She is a noted speaker, having presented among leaders in business and politics at the World Business Forum, and keynoting at universities, top travel industry conferences and women's leadership conferences. Michelle is actively involved with a number of non-profit organizations as well. She serves on the Board of Directors for Technoserve, Christa House and the North America Foundation for Pembroke College, Oxford University.

Peluso received her master's degree in economics, philosophy and politics from Pembroke College at Oxford University where she was a Thoroun Scholar, and her bachelor's degree from the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School of Business.