Expedia Group, like many other companies in the travel industry, has made a wide-scale announcement on where it stands, its plans for the future and how it is going about surviving the damaging effects of COVID-19. Approved by the board of directors, the Group has made some big changes to help the business stay afloat, including appointing a new CEO and CFO, with Peter Kern and Eric Hart filling the roles respectively.
Kern has been a member of the board since 2005, becoming vice chairman in 2018. In December last year, he joined Expedia Group chairman and senior executive Barry Diller in supervising the company. According to Diller, “ In these last five months, he [Kern] has shown outstanding leadership in all aspects of the business, first in a wide reorganisation and then dealing with the impact of the Corona crisis on our business. He now knows all aspects of the business, and we are truly lucky that he is now available to devote his full time to Expedia.”
Hart meanwhile has been with Expedia for 11 years, holding roles across strategy, business development, global M&A, investments and the CarRentals.com business. Elevated from his prior post as acting CFO, Hart has been praised for his action during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Beyond these senior appointments, Expedia has been bolstering its financial strength, raising approximately US$3.2 billion of new capital. This is comprised of an equity investment of $1.2 billion from Apollo and Silver Stake and a further $2 billion in debt financing. The chairman, CEO and members of the board have also forgone cash compensation for the rest of the year, with senior executives and members of the leadership team taking a 25% salary reduction for 2020.
For the rest of the Group’s workforce, many have either been furloughed or asked to take a reduced working week.With these cost-cutting measures in place, Diller urged “We have the financing to carry us through, a superb newly named senior management team, and a very clear focus for whatever the future brings.”