Priceline Group Appoints 16-Year Company Veteran as New CEOBy
Glenn Fogel ran M&A, strategic planning for the travel giant
Appointment ends almost eight-month hunt after Huston resigned
Priceline Group Inc. chose a 16-year veteran of the online travel company who presided over its extensive acquisition campaigns to be its new chief executive officer, ending an almost eight-month hunt for a new leader.
Glenn Fogel, 54, Priceline’s head of strategy, will take over the top job from interim CEO Jeffery Boyd at the beginning of the new year. Boyd, who stepped into the CEO role after Darren Huston resigned in April for having a personal relationship with an employee, will become executive chairman.
Fogel takes over a company that is growing briskly as more travelers book their flights and hotels online each year. Still, it’s facing threats from tech companies like Google, which is dipping its toes further into travel, and Airbnb, as well as fierce competition from Expedia Inc. and Chinese travel giant Ctrip.com International Ltd.
Priceline has transformed itself over its two-decade history from a small U.S. travel booker to one of the world’s biggest internet companies with a market value of more than $70 billion and about 16,000 employees across the world. It’s achieved that largely through acquisitions, especially the 2005 purchase of Dutch hotel site Booking.com for $133 million, a deal Fogel spearheaded. Booking now accounts for more than 80 percent of Priceline’s $10 billion annual revenue, making it arguably one of the most successful technology acquisitions ever.
“The record of those acquisitions speaks for itself,” Boyd said in an interview. “Glenn has outstanding trust and credibility among our leadership team.”
Priceline Group is a collection of various brands including Booking.com, restaurant booking service OpenTable, travel search site Kayak.com and Asia-focused hotel booking website Agoda.com, all of which have their own leadership teams. Fogel’s job will be to set high-level strategy, allocate resources to the different brands, lead the company’s M&A strategy and serve as a public face to the market.
The search took so long because Priceline looked at multiple external candidates as well as internal options, Boyd said.
“Our search committee wanted to be extremely thorough,” he said. “Glenn was the strongest candidate.”