- Expedia and Blue Nile alum Dominique Bourgault will take on the top financial seat for hospitality platform Sonder Holdings, the company announced Monday in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Bourgault’s appointment is also effective as of Monday, according to the company.
- As CFO of the San Francisco, Calif.-based company, Bourgault’s top focus will be supporting the execution of Sonder’s “Cash Positive Plan,” a company spokesperson told CFO Dive in an email.
- Outlined in June of last year, the plan prioritizes reaching positive quarterly cash flow in 2023, without additional fundraising, with the company aiming to slash its costs by approximately $85 million.
Prior to joining Sonder, Bourgault served as the finance chief for online diamond and jewelry retailer Blue Nile. He also logged an 18-year tenure at travel aggregator Expedia Group, serving in several CFO roles including in the top financial seat for Brand Expedia, the division which includes its Expedia, Orbitz, Travelocity and other regional brands, according to his LinkedIn profile.
Bourgault will receive an annual base salary of $495,000 as CFO for the short-term rental company, according to the Monday filing, as well as a one-time equity stock options award.
The Expedia alum is taking the financial helm as Sonder continues its June plans to reach positive cash flow this year, a plan which also included a restructuring of Sonder’s operations. The company announced a reduction of 21% of its corporate roles and 7% of existing frontline roles as part of the restructuring in its June 2022 announcement.
The change from a focus on “hyper growth” to positive cash flow was “not due to a lack of growth opportunities, but instead because market conditions have changed and we thought it was prudent to shift our strategy to adapt to the changing macro environment,” CEO and co-founder Francis Davidson said during the company’s Mar. 1 earnings call.
Sonder has also seen “meaningful progress” with its plan, reporting negative $30 million in free cash flow for its fourth quarter of 2022, compared to negative $39 million in the previous quarter and negative $63 million during the year’s first quarter. The company also reported quarterly revenue of $135 million, a 56% improvement year-over-year, according to its earnings results, and a net loss of $54.8 million compared to $77.3 million a year prior.
In association with the restructuring, Sonder will also lay off approximately 14% of its corporate workforce or 100 corporate employees, Davidson said during the earnings call. The layoffs will contribute to about $10 million in annualized cost savings, he said.
Sonder did not provide guidance past Q1 2023, where it expects revenue of over $110 million, according to its earnings results.
The company’s results come as travel continues to remain resilient in the face of a murky economic climate, where consumers are increasingly pulling back on unnecessary expenditures. Short-term rental platform Airbnb, for example, reported its first profitable year in 2022, with $1.9 billion in net income for the full year, according to its fourth quarter earnings results published mid-February.
Airbnb also reported it would be laying off approximately 30% of its recruiting staff, however, despite its plans to grow its overall headcount this year, Bloomberg reported last week. The company intends to grow such headcount “modestly,” Airbnb CFO David Stephenson said during its fourth quarter earnings call, in the 2% to 4% range, he said.
Other firms in the rental and housing industries are also looking for new financial blood, with mortgage Home Point Capital — the parent organization of Homepoint — also beginning a search for a new finance leader. The company announced in a Mar. 1 filing that current CFO Mark E. Elbaum will be stepping back from the role effective April 3. The company has begun a process to find Elbaum’s successor, according to the filing.