Following a big internal meeting at Uber where former Expedia CEO Dara Khosrowshahi announced his plans as the new CEO of Uber, Expedia said today it has named its CFO Mark Okerstrom as its CEO.
The new CEO’s second act for the company may be a tough one to follow after Khosrowshahi’s tenure as CEO. In the past five years, Expedia’s stock has more than doubled and its semi-under-the-radar status as a company in Bellevue, Washington will now likely have a bit more scrutiny from the tech industry as its top executive has left to run one of the largest (and most controversial) startups in Silicon Valley. Okerstrom will also join the company’s board of directors, and Khosrowshahi will continue to be a member of Expedia’s board.
Okerstrom has been at Expedia since 2006. He was the senior vice president of corporate development for five years before taking over the CFO role in 2011. During that time, he’s overseen deals like its massive acquisition of Airbnb competitor HomeAway. The company acquired HomeAway for $3.9 billion in 2015. Okerstrom seems like a natural successor, given that he has overseen Expedia during its recent run-up on Wall Street as well as his long tenure at the company.
“Mark [Okerstrom] has been by my side through every major milestone in this Company for much of the last 11 years and I’m passing these reins into the best hands,” Khosrowshashi said in a statement in the announcement. “He is a tireless, strategic, and steadfast leader who has pushed me to be my best self while having Expedia’s best interests front and center at every step. I am incredibly excited to watch Expedia continue to flourish with his leadership.”
Part of Khosrowshahi’s legacy will be the company he grew even as Google looked to charge into the travel space. Starting with an acquisition of ITA in 2010 for $700 million, the company has its own optimized flight search product that competes with Expedia. Yet despite Google’s efforts here, Expedia has continued to garner positive sentiment from Wall Street.
Uber’s CEO role had been vacant since June and, following a lot of turmoil and internal drama, Khosrowshahi took the job as a bit of a surprise to many observers. But in the past year, Expedia’s stock has risen more than 26 percent and Khosrowshahi has a lot of experience working in travel and transportation. Khosrowshahi inherits a laundry-load of challenges, including dealing with an ongoing lawsuit with Waymo as well as addressing sexual harassment issues internally following a major investigation.