Expedia Replaces M&A Boss Hart With LendingClub's VengalilBy
Hart helped lead Expedia’s acquisitions of HomeAway and Orbitz
He will transition to Expedia-owned service CarRentals.com
Expedia Inc.’s Eric Hart, the executive who helped lead M&A during the travel giant’s multibillion-dollar acquisition spree, is stepping aside.
Expedia hired LendingClub Corp.’s Regi Vengalil to head corporate development and strategy at the Bellevue, Washington-based company, an Expedia spokesman said. Vengalil started at the job in January, according to his profile on LinkedIn. Hart, who helped run deals including the $1.6 billion purchase of Orbitz and the $3.9 billion acquisition of home-rental site HomeAway, will join Expedia-owned CarRentals.com as a senior vice president, said the spokesman, who declined to comment on the reason for the move.
Acquisitions are a major part of Expedia’s strategy as it vies with Priceline Group Inc. to snag up-and-coming online travel companies. Consolidation in the industry has shown no sign of letting up, with Chinese travel giant Ctrip.com International Ltd. buying Skyscanner for $1.7 billion in December and Priceline agreeing to buy Momondo Group for $550 million last month.
Corporate development is a key proving ground for travel executives. Expedia Chief Financial Officer Mark Okerstrom held the corporate development role before Hart, and Priceline Group’s CEO Glenn Fogel led acquisitions at that company before taking over the top job in December.