HOLLYWOOD, Fla. – New Expedia CEO Mark Okerstrom will steady
his focus on operations, dampening the likelihood of mergers and acquisitions,
but he didn't totally rule out the possibility.
On stage at the Phocuswright Conference here, Okerstrom said
he wants his legacy at the company to be in its operations. He was named CEO
earlier this year after Dara Khosrowshahi's departure to head Uber.
"Operational rigor is where we need to be to actually
realize the full value of this thing," he said.
Douglas Quinby, Phocuswright's senior vice president of
research, asked if that meant a de-emphasis of mergers and acquisitions after
many in recent years.
"I think by nature of focus and opportunity, probably --
but you remember that I ran the M&A team so it's in my blood,"
Okerstrom said. "I can't stop myself if we see something that is strategically
and financially sensible."
The CEO also said customer service would be an increased
focus for Expedia going forward, putting the "A" back in "OTA,"
as Quinby pointed out he had said on the company's most recent results call.
Okerstrom also addressed the company's financial results,
which resulted in sliding stocks this week, much like TripAdvisor and Priceline
He agreed with Priceline CEO Glenn Fogel that the issue was
not a structural change. Long term, he said, dipping stocks will likely prove
to be "a blip."