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New CEOs for Priceline and Booking.com: Jeff Boyd and Gillian Tans replace Darren Huston following misconduct

Priceline (mother company of Booking.com, Agoda, Kayak...) announced the resignation of its CEO Darren Huston further to a personal relationship with one of the group's employees. Jeffery Boyd, historic figure and decision maker for the company who is a former President and CEO, and currently Chairman of the Board, will takeover as interim CEO for Priceline, while Gillian Tans will become CEO of Booking.com.

Don't play around in business. The corporate culture that is well established in the United States just cost the Priceline's CEO his job. Darren Houston, ex-CEO of the mother company of many OTAs (Booking.com, Agoda, Priceline, Kayak...), rentalcars as well as Pricematch and Opentable, has officially "expressed his regrets" about his relations with one of the group's employees - who, nonetheless, was not under his direct responsibility.

Leslie Cafferty, spokesperson for the group, pointed out that the resignation "was not related to  operational or financial performance." In fact, the group's market growth remained solid in recent months, significantly outperforming the NASDAQ (where it is listed) and even more so "traditional" hotel groups, although the previously exponential growth of the group shows clear signs of slowing down, particularly in terms of business turnover. The group's penetration is already high in these strong areas, particularly Europe with Booking, and the group has also been affected by the impact of terrorist attacks on hotel reservations.

But with a stock market value of no less than 70 billion dollars and more than 400 million rooms sold in 2015 [far ahead of the leading hotel groups according to these two metrics, as it was analyzed at the last Global Lodging Forum], the group has solid foundations. It thus only suffered slightly from the announcement: the share price fell by 1.75% at the opening of markets prior to progressively regaining ground.

Since the Connecticut-based leader of the sector needed to resolve this soap opera style situation, Priceline did what made the most sense and turn to two important figures in the group: current chairman Jeffery Boyd -who was President and CEO from 2002 to 2013, during its massive expansion phase- has been named interim CEO. As for the eminently strategic subsidiary Booking.com, Gillian Tans - President and COO- has taken on the role of CEO.
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