New Expedia CEO focused on internal growth

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Expedia CEO Mark Okerstrom at the Phocuswright Conference.
Expedia CEO Mark Okerstrom at the Phocuswright Conference. Photo Credit: Jamie Biesiada

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 Group experienced.

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."

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