Priceline CEO Darren Huston has resigned after a relationship with an employee became known. A former CEO, Jeffery Boyd, will serve as interim CEO, and COO Gillian Teams will replace Huston as Booking.com's chief, which was also Huston's position. Booking.com is a unit of Priceline Group.
Priceline denies any connection between company performance and Huston's departure. Huston has had some big wins as CEO: acquiring OpenTable, signing a booking agreement with TripAdvisor, and seeing company revenue increase almost 36% since taking over in January 2014.
The company also says that the employee wasn't under Huston's direct supervision, although, as CEO, all employees eventually report into him. In a statement, Priceline said Huston "had engaged in activities inconsistent with the board's expectations for executive conduct, which Mr. Huston acknowledged and for which he expressed regret." The former CEO received a salary of $22 million and won't receive any severance pay.
The lead investigator of the incident said, "I am satisfied with the board's thorough review of this issue. The performance of the business under Darren has been strong, and the company is very well-positioned to continue executing on its strategy for growth. Jeff is deeply familiar with the company's strategy and leadership team, which consists of highly accomplished entrepreneurs and seasoned professional executives with long tenure in the business. We are confident the company is in strong hands while we conduct a search for a new CEO."
- Why would Priceline emphasize that the employee wasn't a direct report? Does it matter?
- Priceline has no statement on its website. Should the company post something? Why or why not, and if so, what should the statement say?