Austin, Texas, USA (March 20, 2014) - Former Google CIO, Douglas Merrill will address the 2014 Hospitality Industry Technology Exposition and Conference (HITEC®) attendees during the opening session on the relevant topics of organizational security and data protection. Merrill will speak to on Monday, June 23 at the Los Angeles Convention Center in Los Angeles, Calif. In addition, HITEC has secured two other experts to give keynote presentations later in the week.

As the former CIO and vice president of engineering at Google, Merrill oversaw a team of 1,500, as well as all aspects of technology and several high profile projects, one of which, Google Checkout, is now a multi-billion dollar business. Informed, passionate and brilliantly counter-intuitive, he now helps companies around the world learn how to build their own sustainable cultures of innovation. Merrill's latest project is ZestFinance, a big data fuelled underwriting and short-term loan service that provides customers with an affordable alternative to traditional payday loan companies. He holds a doctorate in cognitive science from Princeton and is the author of Getting Organized in the Google Era: How to Get Stuff Out of Your Head, Find It When You Need It, and Get It Done Right.

"Given the recent data breaches and the growing interest behind big data we felt the attendees at HITEC 2014 could benefit from the expert advice from all of these keynote speakers," said Frank Wolfe, CAE, HFTP CEO. "The methods for data theft, cyber security, and understanding customer data are constantly evolving. Gaining insights from these individuals will equip our industry with the tools needed to stay ahead of the curve."

The Tuesday, June 24, morning keynote session will feature global thought leader, Rachel Botsman. Botsman will explain to attendees how the rapidly growing collaborative economy is transforming production, finance, education and consumption. She has inspired a new economy with her influential book What's Mine is Yours: How Collaborative Consumption Is Changing The Way We Live. Botsman is the founder of Collaborative Lab, the leading source of expertise for companies and governments that want to embrace the collaborative economy to revolutionize business and society.

Following the insightful session by Botsman, the Thursday closing keynote will focus on corporate security with practical insights into real work situations relevant to many industries, presented by Eric O'Neill, former FBI operative and subject of the film 'Breach.' The session will teach attendees the top 10 things they should be doing to secure their company. After 25 years with the FBI, O'Neill now runs The Georgetown Group, a security firm out of Washington, DC.

HITEC 2014, a service of Hospitality Financial and Technology Professionals (HFTP®), is the world's largest hospitality technology exposition and conference. The conference is June 23 - 26. HITEC offers attendees essential education, access to experts and hospitality technology vendors, the opportunity to network with top leaders in the industry and the resources to find cost-effective ways to improve company bottom lines.

Attendee registration and the housing bureau are now available on the web site. VisitHITEC.org for complete information about the conference and exhibition events, including the conference schedule, a list and map of exhibitors and all the current HITEC news.

For more information about HITEC, contact the HFTP Meetings and Special Events department at attendee@hftp.org, (800) 646-4387 or +1 (512) 249-5333.

About HFTP

HFTP, Austin, Texas, USA and Maastricht, The Netherlands, founded in 1952, is the global professional association for financial and technology personnel working in hotels, clubs and other hospitality-related businesses. HFTP provides first class educational opportunities, research, and publications to members around the globe including, the premiere hospitality technology conference HITEC--founded in 1972. HFTP also awards the only hospitality specific certifications for accounting and technology --the Certified Hospitality Accountant Executive (CHAE) and the Certified Hospitality Technology Professional (CHTP) designations. HFTP was founded in the USA as the National Association of Hotel Accountants. For more information, visit www.hftp.org.

Contact: Sara Bailiff - Public Relations Manager

+1 (512) 249-5333 or (800) 646-4387 (US)

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