Expedia appoints new CTO and brand president

US: Expedia Group has announced the appointment of Rathi Murthy as the company’s chief technology officer and president of Expedia Services, and Jon Gieselman as the company’s president of Expedia Brands.

As part of Murthy and Gieselman joining, the company will evolve its operating structure into four key pillars: Expedia Services, Expedia Brands, Expedia Marketplace, and Expedia for Business.

Peter Kern, vice chairman and CEO of Expedia Group, said: “Today, we take an important next step in Expedia Group’s journey as we add two exceptional talents to our leadership team and simplify our organisation for clarity and speed. Rathi and Jon represent the character of executives, depth and breadth of experience, and success in their respective fields we seek at our leadership table.

“Our chairman and I have complete confidence in what they will deliver and we are excited to welcome them to the team,” he added.

Gieselman joins Expedia Group from Apple, where he led marketing for Services, a broad portfolio of businesses. While at Apple, he worked closely with product, engineering, and design to expand services.

In his new role, Gieselman will lead Expedia Brands, which will house Expedia’s consumer-facing businesses and focus on bringing to life unique experiences to connect the world through travel.

Jeff Hurst, previous president and co-lead of marketing, will become the Expedia Brands chief operating officer reporting to Gieselman. This role will expand on his work bringing together the marketing teams and driving Vrbo through a critical year.

Murthy joins Expedia Group from Verizon Media and has built up her experience and knowledge in platform environments at Fortune 500 e-commerce, financial services, telecommunications, and media companies. Most recently, she managed innovations in 5G and the platform technology and infrastructure at Verizon Media.

In her new role, Murthy will lead Expedia Services, which includes data and artificial intelligence, e-commerce, payments, and customer experience, focusing on evolving the company’s technical strategy and underlying platform.

John Kim, previous president of Platform & Marketplaces, will become president of Expedia Marketplace.

In his new role, he has been tasked with overseeing strategy, product, technology, and operations for all lines of business – lodging, air, car, cruise, and activities – and bringing Expedia products to life to create “locally relevant and customer-centric travel experiences”.

Ariane Gorin will be bringing together the Travel Partners Group and Expedia Business Services to create a combined B2B organisation.

As president of the newly-formed Expedia for Business, Gorin will oversee the future of Expedia’s B2B relationships, from powering its business partners to helping supply partners. She will be responsible for optimising Expedia’s connections with the travel ecosystem.

Kern said: “As we move into four clearer operating divisions, the addition of Rathi and Jon and new roles for John and Ariane demonstrate our commitment to simplifying our business so we can be more agile and deliver innovative products faster. We set out last year with a clear mission: to power the entire travel ecosystem, and these positions fill the core skillsets we need to accelerate forward.”

Gieselman said: “Having served on the board of directors for 18 months, I can see clearly the opportunity we have in front of us. Expedia Group has a winning strategy for the business.

“There is tremendous leverage in going to market as a coordinated portfolio of brands, positioning us perfectly to bring to life new customer experiences they will absolutely love. We all miss travelling, so we’ll enjoy some natural tailwinds, but the real opportunity is to accelerate growth through meaningful innovation.

“I’m really excited to help transform the company from the inside,” he added.

Murthy said: “It’s exhilarating to join Expedia Group at such a pivotal time for the industry. Travel is a personal passion, so the opportunity to pair my technological expertise with a company driven by such a clear purpose to connect people all around the world was an opportunity I had to pursue.

“I look forward to leading the team driving the platformisation of travel,” she added.

Meanwhile, Cyril Ranque, president, Travel Partners Group; Adam Jay, president and co-lead, Marketing; and Tucker Moodey, president, Retail Product and Technology, have all been confirmed to depart the company at various timeframes over the coming months.

Expedia Group laid off around 12 per cent of its team at the onset of the pandemic, in an attempt to manage a “bloated and sclerotic” workforce, in the words of chairman Barry Diller.