Hotels.com parent Expedia is remaining extremely tight-lipped about a multiple exodus of senior executives from its London headquarters.
Although still not prepared to confirm the exit of large slice of the senior management team at the accommodation-only online agent, previous reports were accurate, according to Travolution sources.
This means that Expedia’s Global Lodging Group has seen the departures of president David Roche and John Connelly, vice-president of strategy, in addition to Scott Booker, Hotels.com Worldwide president and Clive McTavish, chief financial officer.
A statement Hotels.com sent to Travolution yesterday has not been updated since an original unconfirmed report of the departures emerged two weeks ago.
It said: “Expedia group is continually evaluating its organisational structure to ensure that business units are optimally aligned and to position the business for long-term success.
“We can confirm that we have recently undertaken some organisational changes and do not have any specific details to share with you at this time.”
The changes have prompted much speculation within the online travel sector, with a number of sources pointing out the significance of the shock move at such a major player in the online industry.
Some have speculated there may have been a clash of views on strategy, specifically around marketing and promotional activities, with Expedia president and chief executive Dara Khosrowshahi.
Meanwhile, he was quoted as saying the changes were about 'consolidating supply functions under the Expedia brand'.
One source suggested the departures could be down to divergent views on marketing strategy. Hotels.com is a major investor in television advertising while Khosrowshahi is a big fan of "variable online marketing".
He recently told Bloomberg that this form of advertising means it can measure returns and change spend hour to hour based on clicks so the more it can spend the more it can afford to spend.
Other theories have suggested the four have left to start up a new venture, although this is seen as less likely. “Whatever, I’m sure they will be snapped up,” said one source, “That’s a pretty strong team.”
Travolution understands that Johan Svanstrom, Asia Pacific vice president and managing director, is poised take up the role of Hotels.com president based in London.
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