Sparks remit will include ‘accelerating’ the hotel booking agent’s growth plans, which include ambitions to become a travel management company.
The company forecast a 20% growth in turnover for 2011 earlier this year.
Sparks was formerly managing director of health and wellbeing services provider First Assist Services.
His experience also includes chief executive roles at the Casella Group and Cendant.
Expotel chairman Richard Lovell said: "Ian has the business acumen, leadership qualities and experience to lead our company to the next level of growth as a leading travel management company. He has a strong record of delivering excellence in business service organisation."
Expotel – key figures
Turnover of £180m in 2010, including over 20,000 conferences and one million bednights.
Employs 400 staff from offices in Glasgow, Leeds, Manchester, Stockport and Swindon