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As we reported in October would be the outcome, the Priceline Group today named Glenn Fogel its new CEO after an eight-month search.
With Fogel, 54, ascending from his longtime position as the Group’s executive vice president and head of worldwide strategy and planning to the CEO position, effective January 1, Interim CEO Jeff Boyd transitions from non-executive chairman to executive chairman.
The new title for Boyd, who was CEO from 2002 to 2013, means his duties evolve from strictly board matters to more involvement in operations, although he won’t be hands-on in daily matters. Fogel, who has never held a CEO title but is highly regarded, will be the company’s senior executive.
“Glenn knows our global business inside and out, and he has been a key player in almost all of the major strategic initiatives for The Priceline Group over the last 16 years,” said board chairman Jeff Boyd in a statement. “He was a primary driver in key acquisitions including Active Hotels, Booking.com and Agoda.com, which have created strong growth opportunities for the Group and favorable returns for our shareholders.
“I have worked alongside him for 16 years, and I can attest to Glenn’s intimate knowledge of our people, our business models, our company culture and our changing business landscape, all critical attributes for the next leader of the Group. I am confident Glenn is the right choice to lead the business through its next chapters, and I look forward to working with him.”
A search committee set up by the board evaluated both internal and external candidates and selected Fogel, a pick that will likely be welcomed by Wall Street as he has been intimately involved in the company’s and sub-brands operations for an extended period.
“The Priceline Group brands are leaders in their space, but there is still so much opportunity to continue to innovate on the customer experience and increase the benefits we deliver to our global partners,” said Fogel. “I’m excited at the opportunity to lead our businesses, work alongside Jeff during the transition, and ultimately drive further value for our customers, partners, teams and shareholders.”
Fogel gets credit for identifying Active Hotels and Bookings B.V. in 2004 and 2005 as acquisition targets when companies such as Expedia took a look and passed. The acquisitions of Active Hotels and Bookings, among the best buys in Internet history, helped create the Priceline Group, changing it from U.S.-oriented Priceline.com into a global $73 billion company.
The CEO position opened up in April when then-CEO Darren Huston left the company in a personnel scandal in April 2016 tied to an inappropriate relationship with an employee. Former CEO Jeffery Boyd, who had left the post a little more than two years earlier, became interim CEO while a search for a permanent CEO got under way.
Huston served as CEO of Booking.com since 2011, and had become Group CEO on January 1, 2014, holding both titles. When Huston left, Booking.com President and COO Gillian Tans became CEO of Booking.com, which is by far the Priceline Group’s largest brand.