Skift Take

Some might argue that Vacasa is getting a substantial injection of Expedia DNA. The new CEO, chief commercial officer and principal operating officer all have Expedia ties.

Vacasa Chief Commercial Officer Craig Smith left his post abruptly Monday just four months after taking the position, and TurnKey co-founder T.J. Clark replaced Smith in the role, Skift has learned.

Smith was among the Vacasa leaders who led the layoffs January 24, when Vacasa fired 17 percent of its staff, its second round of layoffs in a few months.

Vacasa published a Securities and Exchange Commission filing Monday afternoon announcing Smith’s departure, but it doesn’t mention Clark’s promotion. Clark had been Vacasa’s vice president of business development.

Instead, the financial filing said that Chief Operating Officer John Banczak replaced Smith in one of his roles as the company’s principal operating officer. Such named officers are top company officers, and their compensation is posted in an annual financial disclosures.

The financial filing noted that Smith ended his role as chief commercial officer February 6, but would remain with the company through March 13.

The personnel moves, according to one source, also included at least one reorganizational move involving Vacasa’s revenue department.

In an internal Vacasa email Monday that Skift viewed, the company stated in an “Update to our Sales Growth and Teams” that Smith “decided to step down” as chief commercial officer, effective February 6.

In a statement to Skift, Vacasa said Smith would remain with the company until March 13, and that Clark would assume his new duties then.

However, this contradicts the internal company email that said Clark would take on Smith’s responsibilities “effective immediately.”

After expressing gratitude for Smith’s accomplishments, the internal email said: “T.J. is a proven growth leader, having led similar functions as co-founder of TurnKey. We are excited for him to leverage the solid foundation Craig has put in place and to take the team to the next level.”

Banczak, like Clark, is a TurnKey co-founder. Vacasa acquired TurnKey, a vacation rental property manager competitor, in 2021.

Banczak, Clark and new Vacasa CEO Rob Greyber, who came onboard in September, all previously worked at various Expedia Group brands. Greyber promoted Banczak to chief operating officer in October, and Clark as chief commercial officer Monday.

Greyber had promoted Smith to the chief commercial officer position in October, and he was charged with whipping the sales team and operations into shape as the company sought to get profitable in 2023 and to lean into organic growth versus acquisitions.

Vacasa isn’t saying what prompted Smith’s departure.

Here’s Vacasa’s full statement to Skift:

“Today, we announced changes to Vacasa’s executive team. Craig Smith, our Chief Commercial Officer, will no longer be serving as our Chief Commercial Officer, effective February 6, 2023. Craig will be departing the company on March 13, at which time T.J. Clark will assume the role of Chief Commercial Officer.

“John Banczak, the Company’s Chief Operating Officer, will succeed Craig as the “principal operating officer,” a designation used in our Securities and Exchange Commission filings, effective as of February 6. 

“We look forward to providing an update on Vacasa’s business during its fourth quarter earnings call, which will be scheduled in the coming weeks.”

Update: Vacasa Chief Technology Officer Jeff Flitton announced on Twitter Wednesday that he left the company in January to focus on his next opportunity. Flitton had been chief technology officer for a little more than three years.


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Tags: corporate governance, future of lodging, online travel newsletter, property management, vacasa, vacation rentals

Photo credit: Vacasa's chief commercial officer abruptly left his position February 6, 2023. Pictured is a Vacasa rental in San Antonio, Texas. Vacasa

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