Technology

“We simply have not done enough”: Expedia CEO promises bigger diversity push following George Floyd’s death

Expedia’s CEO Peter Kern has penned a letter to his employees vowing the company will do more to promote diversity in the wake of George Floyd’s death in the US.

Floyd was an African American man who died last month after a white Minneapolis police officer kneeled on his neck during an arrest for allegedly passing a counterfeit $20 note.

His death has led to multiple protests in major US cities and other countries, along with the police officer in question facing a charge of second-degree unintentional murder.

Expedia posted Kern’s letter to the company’s blog and said it was intended only to be sent to employees, but the response was so positive that it decided to make it available to the public.

In the letter, Kern laments the institutionalised racism that led to Floyd’s death and emphasised it was not an isolated event.

“These are trying times for us as a company, but that seems to pale in comparison to the trying times that humanity is facing,” he said.

“And just as I’ve asked all you to be motivated by COVID-19 to change faster, I hope the events following the senseless death of Mr Floyd (and sadly the hundreds who have come before him) will likewise bring you new energy for the cause of equality.”

Kern, who has been Expedia’s CEO since 23 April, expressed his frustration about the lack of progress the US has made.

“I have seen a lot in my days and I find it wholly disheartening and pathetic that we as a nation have not been able to get further over my lifetime,” he said.

“I grew up in Greenwich Village in NYC in the 70s, and I can tell you that in many ways my community and society seemed to have more racial diversity and acceptance than our country does now.”

Kern also admitted that the tech industry and Expedia itself had not done enough to promote diversity and dismantle institutionalised racism.

“For all our talk as a society, we simply have not done enough. And, candidly, neither the tech industry nor Expedia Group has done enough either,” he said.

“I am not naive to the fact that we must do better in terms of our own diversity, and we will, but I am not writing this to make you believe that we as a company will do better or for some corporate positioning.

“What matters is that we as humans reject the killing of innocent people and the systemic racism that has plagued our country.

“Unfortunately unlike COVID-19, which I believe science will eventually conquer, hundreds of years of racism and overt and unconscious bias will not be fixed with a vaccine. Instead, we all must be a part of the solution and we each must rededicate ourselves to the cure.”

Kern has committed to re-evaluating what Expedia has been doing about inclusion and diversity, and how he can personally help.

“I will also be signing the CEO Action Pledge (that prior management signed) to affirm that commitment,” he said.

“We do not yet have all of the answers and actions we will take, but we have the will. We will be intentional and thoughtful in evaluating and identifying how we can dismantle any bias within our policies and practices.

“We will create safe spaces to have difficult conversations. We will ensure allyship is a collective action taken by all of our employees. We simply must do better. And together, we can and we will.

According to Forbes, Expedia’s executive leadership team is made up entirely of white men, and neither its travel leadership team nor its board of directors includes an African American person.

You can read Kern’s letter in full here.



SEE WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING

Leave a Reply

Hotels

Hotel Review: La Sultana is an oasis among the chaos of Marrakech

by Nancy Hromin

A peaceful hideaway right in the centre of the Medina’s hustle and bustle, La Sultana is an oasis among the chaos of Marrakech – a chaos we absolutely loved.

Share

CommentComments

News

Aussie travel start-up Ok Away partners with Air Doctor

While it is a cool name, Ok Away also sounds like a good way to end a sentence with someone you wish would leave you alone.

Share

CommentComments

Aviation

“It’s a shocking insult”: Qantas slammed for asking execs to work as baggage handlers

The bags on your next flight may be handled by Alan Joyce, which may or may not be a good thing depending on your confidence in his ability to fling around 30 kg bags.

Share

CommentComments

Destinations

Travellers warned over bomb threats against Moldova’s international airport

The government’s travel alert website is advising Aussies to reconsider their need to travel to Moldova, which, given the bomb threats, is probably sound advice.

Share

CommentComments

Cruise

Intrepid launches citizen science programs in Antarctica

Believe it or not, there is more than one program about understanding phytoplankton (which are a lot more important than you would think)!

Share

CommentComments

Hotels

IHG celebrates 60 years with big surprises + Tim Tam cake

The brand is celebrating its Diamond anniversary with a series of events and surprises for guests, but honestly, they had us at “Tim Tam”.

Share

CommentComments

Destinations

Exploring the diverse wonderland of Langkawi

by Sponsored by Tourism Malaysia

A venture to Langkawi, an archipelago off Malaysia’s northwest coast, is a must-visit for any adventurer. Read our guide to see why.

Share

CommentComments

News

Iceland volcano eruption sparks travel concerns

Fortunately, we don’t have a Mt. Vesuvius situation going on here, so Islandic folk need not worry about being frozen in time while they’re on the loo.

Share

CommentComments

Aviation

Airport workers get green light on industrial action vote

Aussie airports could face further disruptions after Fair Work gave ground workers its stamp of approval to vote on a potential strike.

Share

CommentComments

Travel Agents

TravelManagers’ ‘Peace of Mind’ attracts high calibre new recruits

by Sponsored by TravelManagers

Many in travel contemplated their next career move during the pandemic. Industry veteran Joanne Miller discussed her experience and spoke on why she moved to TravelManagers.

Share

CommentComments

Destinations

Commonwealth Games highlights importance of sports tourism

by Ali Coulton

We’ve spent the past two weeks doing our best Sporty Spice impression at the Commonwealth Games. Here’s what we learned.

Share

CommentComments

Destinations

Entire adds Cook Islands as its newest destination

We were disappointed to find out the Cook Islands is not where they train all the chefs in the world.

Share

CommentComments