Priceline -- meaning the Priceline group of companies -- shuffled its executive ranks in North America and Europe.
Christopher Soder, who has served as president, North American Travel, since 2007, takes on another title, CEO, Priceline.com, North America, effective June 2.
And, Kees Koolen, who is a founder of Booking.com and has served as its CEO since the Fall of 2008, will become chairman of the Netherlands-headquartered company.
Priceline says Koolen's transition was "planned" and a search is under way for his successor. Once a new CEO of Booking.com is in place, then Koolen will move over to the chairman's seat, Priceline says.
Jeffery Boyd stays on as the president and CEO of the Priceline group, running the show.
Priceline declined to elaborate on the reasons for the changes.
Tom Botts, a partner at Hudson Crossing, thinks Soder taking on the CEO role of the North America businesses may provide more focus.
"Priceline's various business units are run largely independently (which has been part of the secret sauce), but the original mothership did not have a leader other than Jeff, who has lots to do these days," Botts says. "It makes great sense to take a seasoned exec like Chris and give him the keys to the car. Or, the hotel room in this case."
And, about Koolen's transition, it seems curious a bit curious if it were indeed planned. If that is indeed the case, then why is there no CEO lined up as a replacement?
Meanwhile, the executive realignment came as Priceline announced its earnings for the first quarter of 2011.
During the earnings call today, Boyd said each of the company's brands experienced higher growth rates than the competion and expansion in the international hotel business exceeded guidance and analysts' expecations.
Boyd, however, repeated cautions expressed over the last few quarters that the growth of the business is decelerating because of investments and the sheer size of the company.
He noted that Booking.com, which now counts participation from more than 130,000 hotels globally, is building is international platform to accommodate higher growth rates.
And, hotel company Agoda and car rental firm Travel Jigsaw find themselves at an earlier stage of development than Booking.com and require significant investment.
Boyd said the global hotel market is extremely competitive, but bringing hotels online is still at a relatively early stage and there is plenty of opportunity for Priceline in regions such as Europe and Asia-Pacific.
Asia-Pacific is "a rapidly growing market with a lot of running room there," Boyd said.
For the first quarter, which ended March 31, Priceline's net income, rose 93% to $104 million on a nearly 38.5% revenue increase to $$809.3 million. Travel Jigsaw, which wasn't acquired by Priceline until the second quarter of 2010, contributed $95.7 million in gross bookings to Priceline's first quarter of 2011 results.
Priceline's total gross bookings for the first quarter jumped 57.3% to $4.6 billion, while international gross bookings increased 79% to more than $3.5 billion. Domestic gross bookings were up a more modest 14.1%.
Hotel room nights grew 55.8% in the first quarter of 2011 compared with the same period a year earlier.
Boyd declined to quantify it, but said he believes Priceline's domestic air ticket business benefitted from the fact that American Airlines flights were absent from both Orbitz and Expedia during the first quarter.