HomeAway announced that co-founder and chief strategy officer Carl Shepherd will retire in the second half of the year and president and COO Brent Bellm will leave the vacation rental giant in June.
The transitions come as HomeAway reported first quarter weakness in its European subscription business, due in part to the heavy lifting involved in migrating France-based Homelidays, which was acquired in 2009. Officials said softness resulting from the Homelidays migration to the HomeAway platform would take six to nine months.
Of 10 platform migrations that HomeAway has carried out in existence, the Homelidays transition has been one of the more “painful and long ones, CEO Brian Sharples said during HomeAway’s first quarter earnings call. Comparing it to the previous migration of VRBO, Sharples said Homelidays is a large, pan-European site and does things a lot different than HomeAway, complicating the switchover.
There were also “headwinds” in the first quarter from foreign exchange issues, although the company didn’t tie these issues to the executive departures.
HomeAway stated that Bellm, who has been at his posts since July 2010, is leaving “to pursue other opportunities.”
Shepherd wants to spend more time with his family and will remain on the HomeAway board, Sharples said.
“Today we announced some leadership changes and we’re taking this opportunity to realign our leadership team to position the company for the next stage of HomeAway’s growth,” Sharples said.
Sharples will resume the role of president and chief product officer Tom Hale will assume the newly created position of COO.
For the quarter, HomeAway missed EPS and revenue expectations as the company increased its marketing investments with a global, integrated marketing campaign.
HomeAway’s net loss for the quarter was $2.1 million compared with net income of $4.4 million a year earlier.
On the issue of online booking, Sharples said 465,000 listings, or 43 percent of all the listings on HomeAway sites, are now online bookable and the company is on pace to get all of its listings online bookable by the end of 2016.
Sharples said HomeAway would get as many listings online bookable “naturally” by the middle of 2016 before it would have to “enforce” the requirement.