Mark Okerstrom had been Expedia’s CFO since September 2011. He was involved in most strategic decisions alongside former CEO Dara Khosrowshahi. When Khosrowshahi left to join Uber, Okerstrom seemed to be the obvious choice for the CEO position.
A vote from Expedia’s Chairman Barry Diller, with significant voting control, confirmed Okerstrom’s place as the new CEO. The chairman’s vote and Expedia’s succession planning left no need for the appointment of an interim CEO, which is usually the norm.
Why is Okerstrom a good fit?
Okerstrom has been with Expedia for nearly 11 years. He became the Vice President of Corporate Development in October 2006 and the CFO in September 2011. He has been involved in each of the company’s decisions for the past several years—deciding on strategy and leading the company through big acquisitions like HomeAway and Trivago. He is also fully aware of Expedia’s many ongoing problems including integration issues that he faced with the HomeAway acquisition and key hotel negotiations.
Okerstrom’s appointment as the next CEO ensures continuity in Expedia’s business. Along with other key executives, his presence assures investors that it’s business as normal for Expedia.
Plans for future
Since Okerstrom has been involved in each of Expedia’s key decisions, there might not be a lot to change. He acknowledged this in his letter to the employees. He said, “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.”
Investors can gain exposure to Expedia by investing in the PowerShares DWA Consumer Cyclicals Momentum Portfolio (PEZ), which holds 3.2% of its portfolio in Expedia. PEZ also holds 4.3% in Priceline (PCLN). It doesn’t have any holdings in TripAdvisor (TRIP) and Ctrip.com (CTRP).