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Expedia Poaches CFO From Home-Retailer Williams-Sonoma

Expedia Poaches CFO From Home-Retailer Williams-Sonoma


Group Inc. hired a new finance chief, a move that comes as the online travel company works to build out its direct-to-consumer offering.

The Seattle-based online travel agency, which operates the Travelocity, Orbitz and Hotels.com brands, on Wednesday said it recruited

Julie Whalen

as chief financial officer and executive vice president, effective Sept. 26. Ms. Whalen will succeed

Eric Hart,

who has held the CFO role since December 2019.

Mr. Hart will remain with Expedia through Oct. 1 and is pursuing new opportunities, the company said. He also plans to stay on as chair of the supervisory board of directors of

Trivago N.V.

, which is majority-owned by Expedia Group, the company said.

Julie Whalen will become Expedia Group’s new chief financial officer.


Expedia Group Inc.

Ms. Whalen most recently served as CFO at San Francisco-based home-products retailer

Williams-Sonoma Inc.,

a role she has held since 2012.

“She comes with a background and commitment to understanding customers and driving long-term value,”

Peter Kern,

vice chairman and chief executive at Expedia Group, said in a release, referring to Ms. Whalen. She recently resigned as chair of Expedia’s audit committee, which she had served on since June 2020, the company said.

Expedia declined to comment beyond its statement.

Also on Wednesday, Williams-Sonoma named

Jeff Howie,

the company’s executive vice president and chief administrative officer, as Ms. Whalen’s successor. Mr. Howie has been with Williams-Sonoma for the past 20 years, during which he held executive leadership roles for company brands including Williams Sonoma, Pottery Barn, Pottery Barn Kids and Pottery Barn Teen.

Last month, Expedia reported revenue of $3.18 billion for the second quarter, up 50.7% from the prior-year period, driven by higher demand for travel. Its net loss, however, widened to $185 million from $172 million in the prior-year period in part due to losses on equity investments.

Ms. Whalen will likely focus on reducing costs associated with gaining and retaining customers, said

Dan Wasiolek,

a senior equity analyst at financial-services firm

Morningstar Inc.

Her e-commerce retail experience at Williams-Sonoma could help her with growing Expedia’s direct-to-consumer operation, in part through greater reliance on data analytics, he said.

“Her expertise could play into advantages as far as kind of merchandising to new and existing members that are using Expedia,” Mr. Wasiolek said.

Write to Mark Maurer at [email protected]

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