Employees at Hotels.com were greeted Friday by a number of senior executive departures as part of a reshuffle at the online travel agency, owned by Expedia Inc.
In a statement to Tnooz, the company said:
"We can confirm that we have recently undertaken some organizational changes and do not have any specific details to share with you at this time."
According a source, who spoke with Tnooz on the condition of anonymity, the following changes have been made at the company. Earlier today, Tnooz e-mailed all of the names mentioned to us by the source, but have not yet received on-the-record confirmations.
The biggest change was that David Roche, who has been leading Hotels.com for a decade, is said to be exiting his role of president, global lodging group. Roche delivered the global strategy for that brand, among other duties.
Also said to be departing are Scott Booker, president of Hotels.com Worldwide; Clive McTavish, CFO of Hotels.com; and John Connelly, vice-president of strategy at global lodging group. This London-based cohort had been appointed to their positions at the same time, in January 2012.
Along with the departures came some promotions. Johan Svanstrom, vice president and managing director, Asia Pacific, is said to be the new Hotels.com president.
If Tnooz's source is correct, Svanstrom, the Hong Kong-based executive, has essentially jumped ahead of Nigel Pocklington, chief marketing officer and up until now effectively Svanstrom's boss from his post in London, and Michael Lowery, senior vice president of global retail marketing for Hotels.com.
A reboot at Expedia Inc?
The shake-up comes as Expedia Inc has taken a beating in the stock market. The firm's share price (EXPE) is down 22% since its last financial quarter report, to $51 on Friday -- for a market capitalization of $7.03 billion.
Looking long term, the number of senior management changes at Expedia Inc has been high, relative to the rate at arch rival Priceline Inc.
The company didn't respond to requests for details on the staffing changes. In its statement, it merely said, "Expedia, Inc. is continually evaluating its organizational structure to ensure that business units are optimally aligned and to position the business for long-term success."
The reconstituted executive team by all accounts still has improve its results with inventory growth, demand generation, and where supply and demand react online, mobile, and with call centers.
Hotels.com may also need to pick up its pace at increasing wallet share from its existing customers and penetrating emerging markets, according to some industry observers.
The fact that the new Hotels.com president, Svanstrom, comes from Asia, where he has worked at Expedia Inc and has been on the board of directors of ELong, the Chinese OTA, suggests the intriguing possibility that the company may be distilling its strategy for the Pacific region.
Career advice from Expedia Inc's CEO
Coincidentally, last month Expedia Inc CEO Dara Khosrowshahi dispensed career advice, in a post on the listings site LinkedIn:
"My career planning advice is similar: optimize for the next one to two years instead of the next five or 10...."
"My second piece of career planning advice is to find the smartest and most competent person around you and work for that person. It doesn’t matter if the move is lateral, down or up. Just get yourself working for that great person. Don’t ask for much; just work your ass off."
"The benefit is two-fold. First, you'll learn a lot. You'll be challenged. You'll grow as a person and as a professional. Second, smart people tend to get promoted. When they get promoted, you'll tend to follow them as they rise in the ranks (assuming you've done a great job)."
Many Expedia Inc employees may be listening to Khosrowshahi's advice more closely in the months ahead, as future reshuffles at other brands are probable.
At Hotels.com in particular, many employees may be trying to learn more about their new president. One starting point is to read ZDnet's Q&A with Svanstrom from last year.
NB: Images courtesy Expedia Inc; Bloomberg TV; Yahoo Finance.