- Julie Whalen will jump from her CFO position at global home retailer Williams-Sonoma — a role she has held for 10 years — to take on the financial helm for Expedia Group Inc., the online travel company announced Wednesday.
- Whalen will replace current Expedia CFO Eric Hart, with her appointment effective Sept. 26, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). She resigned from her previous position effective Sept. 14.
- Williams-Sonoma Chief Administrative Officer Jeff Howie is succeeding Whalen, taking the global retailer’s CFO seat on Sept. 14, according to a company filing.
Whalen, who began her accounting career at KPMG, has served as William-Sonoma’s CFO since 2012, according to a SEC filing by Expedia. She has also served as a director for the travel group since 2019, resigning her position as part of their audit committee in connection with her appointment as CFO, per the filing.
She will receive an initial base salary of $950,000, according to the filing. She will also receive an award of restricted stock units following the effective date with an aggregate dollar-nominated value of $17.5 million.
Howie, her successor at Williams-Sonoma, is a 20-year veteran of the retailer, which also includes brands such as Pottery Barn and West Elm as well as its titular home goods brand. He has also previously worked for retailers such as Saks Incorporated and Macy’s, according to his LinkedIn profile. Howie will receive an annual base salary of $900,000 as CFO, according to a Williams-Sonoma filing.
Meanwhile, Expedia’s previous CFO Eric Hart — who also served as Expedia’s chief strategy officer as well as CFO — will remain with the firm for a transitionary period ending Oct. 1. Hart, who has held a variety of executive positions during his 13-year tenure with the firm, will continue to serve as a member of the board of directors for its majority-owned subsidiary Trivago N.V., a global hotel and lodging search service, according to Expedia’s filing.
The CFO swap comes after Expedia, which also operates brands including Orbitz and Hotels.com, announced a new social impact and sustainability strategy with the aim of advancing “a more responsible, open and accessible travel industry,” according to a Sept. 13 press release. Its Open World™ sustainability strategy will focus on opening up access for underserved travelers, “democratizing the travel economy” and creating “sustainable solutions for the future of travel,” according to the release.
The firm previously announced its connected Open World technology platform, an e-commerce suite designed to help its partners configure and utilize its products and services throughout the travel ecosystem, in May 2022.
“Travel needs to lighten its footprint on the planet, and everyone should be able to experience it and receive the associated benefits,” Peter Kern, vice chairman and CEO for Expedia Group said in a statement included in its Tuesday release. “Now is the time to innovate the existing model. We have a responsibility to enable a stronger, more sustainable industry.”
Expedia reported $3.2 billion in revenue for the second quarter, a 51% increase year-over-year. It also reported a wider net loss of $185 million, however, compared to the $172 million net loss seen in the prior period.
Expedia was unable to make Whalen available for comment. Williams-Sonoma did not respond to requests for comment.