Joe Leader was selected by the Airline Passenger Experience’s Board of Directors as the association’s Chief Executive Officer in August 2015. Alongside APEX’s worldwide team, Leader prominently positions APEX as the most influential, value-driven membership organization in the passenger experience. Working with senior executives at all of the world’s leading airlines, top industry suppliers, government organizations, and major media groups, Leader looks to expand APEX’s global industry leadership as passenger experience becomes a growing profit center for airlines.
A forerunner in aviation and technology, Leader has been influencing the passenger experience for more than two decades. His career began at American Megatrends, Inc. (AMI), a technology company with products in over half of the computers of the world at that time including wide use in aviation, entertainment, and in-flight technology companies. AMI provided Leader international leadership opportunities that helped engrain his global perspective. Leader worked with his team at AMI to grow a new division of the company from zero to $150 million in annual revenue. During his travels for AMI, Leader became the most frequent flyer of a U.S. air carrier. That led to meeting the airline’s CEO and head of marketing – a meeting that eventually inspired Leader's transition from technology to aviation. When AMI sold Leader's division to LSI, a $2 billion semiconductor and storage company now called Avago, he successfully led worldwide channel efforts across two divisions with technology products used across APEX’s member companies.
After several years, Leader left LSI to form the Air Taxi Association (ATXA) with the backing of major air taxi and air charter companies across the U.S. and Europe. His work at ATXA led to new business technology developed for the multi-billion dollar GDS leader Travelport. At Travelport, Leader worked to integrate business aviation into the GDS system. After Travelport, Leader sharpened his executive skills at West Physics and PossibleNow. Leader’s work at PossibleNow led to the founding of a new division for the company to expand customer preference management technology at leading media conglomerates, airlines, and other key business sectors. Leader publically presented alongside a top U.S. airline during his tenure at PossibleNow, demonstrating how careful customer preference management could dramatically increase passenger satisfaction. Most recently, Leader served as Chief Marketing Officer for business aviation innovator BlackJet where members may purchase private jet seats at prices within range of full-fare commercial airline tickets.
With a passion for education, Leader’s business Ph.D. dissertation research focused upon accelerating the passenger adoption of new aviation technology. Leader also holds undergraduate and graduate degrees from Emory University alongside an MBA/TM focused upon technology management. Recognized as an aviation expert, Leader has been quoted by major news outlets including The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Financial Times, and the Harvard Business Review. Leader has previously served as a key presenter for the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), National Business Aviation Association (NBAA), European Business Aviation Association (EBAA), Latin American Business Aviation Conference & Exhibition (LABACE), Customer Engagement Marketing Summit, Direct Marketing Association, CMO, and Loyalty360. Leader also has experience working with many United States governments regulatory organizations, such as the FAA, DOT, and DOJ; as well as international regulatory expertise.
Leader was born in New York, but grew up in his adopted hometown of Conway, Arkansas where his parents still reside part-time. Leader lives in Atlanta, Georgia with his wife, Dr. Jeanette Leader, an OB/GYN doctor and surgeon, and his daughter, Jenna. His passions include travel, writing, snorkeling, racquetball, digital design, and photography.