Expedia Group chairman Barry Diller has announced a number of changes to the online travel behemoth, including a new boss and billions of dollars in new financing.
Following the shock resignations of Mark Okerstrom and Alan Pickerill late last year, Expedia has appointed Peter Kern and Eric Hart as the company’s chief executive and chief financial officer respectively.
Kern (pictured above) has been a member of Expedia’s board since 2005 and became its vice chairman in 2018. When the company changed management in December, Kern joined Diller in supervising its operations.
“In these last five months, he has shown outstanding leadership in all aspects of the business, first in a wide reorganisation and then dealing with the impact of the corona crisis on our business,” Diller said.
“He now knows all aspects of the business, and we are truly lucky that he is now available to devote his full time to Expedia.”
Kern has also spent decades in leadership roles in public and private settings, most recently as the CEO of Tribune Media.
The appointment of Hart as Expedia’s CFO hasn’t really come as any surprise, either, having been acting in the role since Pickerill’s departure.
With 11 years already behind him at Expedia, Hart has held responsibility for its group strategy, business development, global mergers and acquisitions, investments, and its CarRentals.com business.
In other news, Diller said Expedia would raise approximately US$3.2 billion ($5 billion) of new capital, consisting of an equity investment of US$1.2 billion ($1.9 billion) by private equity firms Apollo and Silver Lake.
Diller, Kern and members of the company’s board will forgo cash compensation for the remainder of the year, and senior executives will be taking a 25 per cent salary cut for the remainder of the year.
Expedia will be implementing furloughs and reduced work week programs for select volume-based teams with limited work right now.
It will also offer a voluntary reduced work week program for parents, caregivers and employees with personal needs to take a temporary shortened three-day work week.
“These steps on furlough and reduced work week programs as well as voluntary reduced work weeks will be active through August 31, when we will re-evaluate the situation and hope to be in a better position with volumes coming back and plenty of work to keep us all busy,” Diller said.
Expedia’s chairman said the company has learned “an enormous amount” over the almost five months since the management overhaul began.
“We’re going to put that to great and definitive use as we come out of this period,” he said.
“I believe we’ll have a far finer operation coming out of this crisis than going into it.”
Featured image supplied by Expedia Group.