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.
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, Diller said in a statement, "Earlier
this year, Expedia embarked on an ambitious reorganization plan with the goal
of bringing our brands and technology together in a more efficient way. This
reorganization, while sound in concept, resulted in a material loss of focus on
our current operations, leading to disappointing third quarter results and a
lackluster 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
In early November, Expedia reported a 22% decrease in third-quarter
net income, to $409 million.
Adjusted earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA)
was flat at $912 million. While revenue was up 9% to $3.6 billion, that sum was
around $10 million less than analysts had forecast.
As a result, Okerstrom announced that the company was
lowering its full-year 2019 guidance for adjusted EBITDA growth to 5% to 8%.
Concurrent with the leadership overhaul, 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."
Expedia has signed off on a new share repurchase
authorization for up to an additional 20 million shares of the company's common
stock, which would join 9 million shares already available under the group’s
existing authorization. Expedia now has approximately 29 million shares
available under its repurchase program.
Kern said, "While we share and understand the investment
community's unhappiness with our third quarter results and how 2019 has shaped
up overall, we are keenly focused on the future and all of the opportunities
ahead of us. We intend to use our strong balance sheet to continue and amplify
our stock repurchase program, given our belief that the market currently
undervalues our company."
Okerstrom joined Expedia Group in 2006 and had served as CEO
since 2017, when he replaced Dara Khosrowshahi, who left Expedia to become
Correction: Eric Hart was named interim CFO. A previous version of this report had the wrong position.