[©Expedia Group]

Expedia Group to reduce team headcount by nine per cent

US: Online travel agency Expedia Group is to cut around 1,500 jobs, accounting for nine per cent of the company’s overall headcount, as part of a restructuring and cost-cutting measure.

In an internal memo, CEO Peter Kern revealed that the majority of the roles affected within the operational review would be in Expedia Group’s product and technology division.

According to a regulatory filing, total pre-tax charges and cash expenditures resulting from the restructuring actions are expected to cost the group between $80 million and $100 million, largely consisting of severance and compensation benefits costs.

Kern wrote: “With so much technical achievement over the last 12 months and so much tech debt behind us, we now are obliged to take a close look at roles, skills, teams, and locations to ensure that our resources are focused in the right areas. As a result, this year we will be reviewing our operations which we expect will result in approximately 1,500 roles being impacted across the globe, mainly in our product and technology division.

“As always, we will be engaging in consultation with local employee representatives, where applicable, before making any final decisions. While this review will result in us eliminating some roles, it will also allow us to continue to invest in core strategic areas,” he added.

More details are set to be released in due course but Expedia Group chief financial officer [CFO] Julie Whalen hinted at potential cutbacks in the company’s Q4 earnings call earlier this month, suggesting that the company was “taking a very close look at streamlining our cost structure to align with the next phase of our journey”.

In the same call, Expedia Group announced that Kern would step down as CEO in May, to be replaced by current president of Expedia for Business, Ariane Gorin. Kern, who became CEO in April 2020, will complete his contract before continuing to serve as the company’s vice chairman and member of the board of directors, working closely with Gorin to ensure a smooth transition.

Expedia Group, whose brands include Vrbo, Expedia, Trivago, Hotels.com, Orbitz and Hotwire, also laid off employees in travel operations, support, IT, recruiting, marketing and B2B services last July. Prior to that, the company cut around 3,000 jobs just before the pandemic in February 2020, shortly after the resignation of former CEO Mark Okerstrom.

After hitting a peak of more than 25,000 team members five years ago, Expedia Group currently employs just over 17,000 people [ahead of the layoffs round].

Last week, Expedia Group created two new operating divisions within the company, tapping Alfonso Paredes as president of Private Label Solutions and Greg Schulze as president of Travel Partners and Media.

Key highlights from the company’s earnings call this month included record full year lodging gross bookings, Expedia Group’s highest full year and Q4 revenue, and record quarterly and full year B2B revenue.

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