BELLEVUE, WA—Expedia Inc. has appointed Mark Okerstrom, its current CFO and VP of operations, as president and CEO. He’s replacing Dara Khosrowshahi, who left the OTA after more than 10 years as CEO to take the helm at Uber. The OTA’s new CEO will also join Expedia’s board of directors. Khosrowshahi will continue to be a member of the OTA’s board.
The board only seriously considered Okerstrom for the top spot, according to Expedia Chairman Barry Diller in a statement on the appointment: “We all wish Dara Khosrowshahi the best good fortune as Uber’s CEO. We are…proud that he leaves behind such a talented organization. Our leadership team, over 12 strong, is as substantial a group of executives as I’ve ever worked with. Prior to Dara leaving, Mark Okerstrom was his principal partner in operating the company—and therefore this transition is as natural as water flowing down a snow-packed mountain. There was no other candidate that the board considered. Under Mark’s leadership, surrounded by his excellent and tenured executive team, I’m confident we’ll continue to grow and prosper.”
Okerstrom has served as the OTA’s EVP of operations and CFO since September 2011, previously serving as its secretary from October 2011 until April 2012. He served as senior director of corporate development and strategy; VP of corporate development and strategy; and SVP of corporate development from 2006, when he joined, to 2011.
Prior to Expedia, he was a consultant with Bain & Company in Boston and San Francisco, and worked with UBS Investment Bank in London. Prior to that, he practiced as an attorney with the global law firm of Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer in London.
In an email to employees, obtained by GeekWire, Okerstrom praised Khosrowshahi for his leadership over the years and wished him luck. He also noted Expedia’s current dominance in the marketplace but also acknowledged the increase of “competitive pressures.” As far as Expedia’s future, expect more of the same.
“So what can you expect from me and for Expedia Inc., going forward?” he said in the email. “In short, I would assume largely a continuation of the strategic course we have been on. I have been intimately involved in shaping the strategic and financial direction of this company for the past 11 years, so I actually do not have a long list of ‘things to do completely differently when Dara leaves’ burning a hole in my pocket. What I do have is a passion for listening, for learning, and for organizational and self-improvement. I have a deep curiosity for understanding how we can continue to be a better tech company and most importantly how we can more aggressively innovate to provide even more valuable products and services to our customers and partners alike. So in the near term…you will probably see me asking a lot of questions, listening and no doubt making a few mistakes here and there (apologies in advance).”