New Leadership at HomeAway

HomeAway logoHomeAway, a property rental site similar to Airbnb, has announced a new CEO. A message from the co-founder and chairman, Brian Sharples, explained the change:

Hello Owners and Property Managers.

I wanted to reach out to you directly to let you know about some big news for both HomeAway and me personally. After 12 years at the helm at HomeAway, I have made the very difficult decision to step down as CEO and have chosen John Kim, our current Chief E-Commerce Officer, to lead the company as President. We will gradually move through this transition and I will remain on board as Chairman until mid-January to advise John and the leadership team for the remainder of the year.

While it's never easy to hand over the reins of something you built, I believe now is the right time to empower the next generation of leadership to take HomeAway to new heights. John is already an incredible driving force for the growth of our company. I'm very comforted in knowing we have someone of his caliber with rich experience in product development and innovation to lead our mission and strategy.

As the vacation market grows, so does the expectation of customers to have a superior online experience. John's proven ability to transform web and mobile sites will help HomeAway build the right customer experience to attract even more travelers to your properties. John looks forward to sharing his vision with you and will be hosting a Q&A session on October 19th at 10:00am CT. Please click here to sign up. You may also submit questions in advance for John to address during this webcast.

I want to thank you for trusting HomeAway with your business and for the feedback and support you have provided me personally over the last several years. You have helped us break ground in this industry, and as a frequent HomeAway traveler, I look forward to seeing many of you at your amazing properties in the coming years!

Best regards and heartfelt appreciations,
Brian Sharples
Co-Founder and Chairman of HomeAway, Inc.

Sharples emphasizes Kim's technology experience and sells the decision to property owners as helping to provide "the right customer experience to attract even more travelers to your properties."

An article in the Austin Business Journal describes HomeAway as a successful business in Austin, TX, founded in 2005 and sold to Expedia last year. In a statement, President and CEO of Expedia Dara Khosrowshahi said that Sharples "leaves behind an incredible foundation and legacy that we plan to build on as part of the Expedia Inc. family." Today, the company has 1,540 employees and lists homes for rent in more than 190 countries.

Discussion Starters:

  • Assess Sharples' message. Who is the audience, and what are his objectives? How well does he achieve the objectives?
  • The message seems to leave out some information. What is Sharples not saying, and why isn't he clearer?