Travel TechnologyChairman cites a disagreement over strategy among senior management and the board

Expedia CEO out in management shakeup

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Expedia Group CEO Mark Okerstrom has abruptly resigned.
Expedia Group CEO Mark Okerstrom has abruptly resigned.

WASHINGTON - Expedia Group CEO Mark Okerstrom and CFO Alan Pickerill have abruptly resigned, with Expedia chairman Barry Diller attributing both departures to a disagreement over strategy among senior management and the board.

This reorganisation, while sound in concept, resulted in a material loss of focus on our current operations, leading to disappointing third quarter results and a lacklustre near-term outlook.– Expedia chairman Barry Diller

Mr Diller and vice chairman Peter Kern will jointly take over management of Expedia's executive team and day-to-day operations while the board determines more permanent leadership plans.

Expedia chief strategy officer Eric Hart has been tapped to serve as interim CFO.

Commenting on the shakeup, Mr Diller said in a statement, "Earlier this year, Expedia embarked on an ambitious reorganisation plan with the goal of bringing our brands and technology together in a more efficient way.

“This reorganisation, while sound in concept, resulted in a material loss of focus on our current operations, leading to disappointing third quarter results and a lacklustre near-term outlook.

“The board disagreed with that outlook, as well as the departing leadership's vision for growth, strongly believing the company can accelerate growth in 2020. That divergence necessitated a change in management."

In early November, Expedia reported a 22% decrease in third-quarter net income, to US$409 million. Adjusted earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) was flat at US$912 million. While revenue was up 9% to U $3.6 billion, that sum was around US$10 million less than analysts had forecast.

As a result, Mr Okerstrom announced that the company was lowering its full-year 2019 guidance for adjusted EBITDA growth.

Concurrent with the leadership overhaul, Mr Diller said that he would be "purchasing additional shares in the company as a tangible sign of my faith in and commitment to Expedia's long-term future”.

Mr Okerstrom joined Expedia Group in 2006 and had served as CEO since 2017, when he replaced Dara Khosrowshahi, who left Expedia to become Uber's CEO.

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