Priceline Group Inc (NASDAQ:PCLN) announced that Darren Huston has resigned from the Company, effective immediately. The Company has appointed former CEO and current ChairmanJeffery H. Boyd as Interim Chief Executive Officer and President of The Priceline Group while the Board conducts a search to name a successor.
Mr. Boyd is a 16-year veteran of The Priceline Group, previously serving as President and Chief Executive Officer from 2002 to 2013, during which time he led the Company through a period of significant global expansion and growth in stockholder value.
The Company also announced that current Booking.com President and Chief Operating Officer Gillian Tans has been named Chief Executive Officer ofBooking.com, a Priceline Group subsidiary, replacing Mr. Huston who also served as CEO of this business unit. Ms. Tans has been a leader at the company since 2002, most recently serving as Booking.com’s President since January 2015 and Chief Operating Officer since September 2011, responsible for leading the development and execution of Booking.com’s business strategy and directly overseeing all aspects of the brand’s operations.
Mr. Huston resigned following an investigation overseen by independent members of the Board of Directors of the facts and circumstances surrounding a personal relationship that Mr. Huston had with an employee of the Company who was not under his direct supervision. The investigation determined that Mr. Huston had acted contrary to the Company’s Code of Conduct and had engaged in activities inconsistent with the Board’s expectations for executive conduct, which Mr. Huston acknowledged and for which he expressed regret.
James M. Guyette, Lead Independent Director, 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.”
An independent committee of the Board of Directors overseen by Mr. Guyette will work to identify Chief Executive Officer successor candidates.
Mr. Boyd said, “The culture of our brands and the quality of our leadership have been critical to the Group’s success over the years. I commend Gillian on her promotion to CEO of Booking.com and I am confident she will do a great job leading the business. The outstanding leadership of our independent brands – Booking.com, priceline.com, KAYAK, Agoda, Rentalcars.com and OpenTable – have an excellent track record of executing on what I believe is a winning strategy. The Board and I continue to see tremendous potential to build the Group’s global platform and create value for our stockholders.”
Prior to serving as President and Chief Executive Officer of the Company, Mr. Boyd was the Company’s President and Co-Chief Executive Officer fromAugust 2002 to November 2002 and Chief Operating Officer from November 2000 to August 2002. He previously served as the Company’s Executive Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary from January 2000 to October 2000.
The Company will announce Q2 earnings on May 4th 2016, as previously scheduled. (Original Source)
Shares of Priceline.com Inc closed yesterday at $1353.74, up $19.79 or 1.48%. PCLN has a 1-year high of $1476.52 and a 1-year low of $954.02. The stock’s 50-day moving average is $1317.04 and its 200-day moving average is $1266.99.
On the ratings front, PCLN has been the subject of a number of recent research reports. In a report issued on April 4, Merrill Lynch analyst Justin Post maintained a Buy rating on PCLN, with a price target of $1470, which represents a potential upside of 8.6% from where the stock is currently trading. Separately, on March 31, Pacific Crest’s Brad Erickson initiated coverage with a Hold rating on the stock .
According to TipRanks.com, which ranks over 7,500 financial analysts and bloggers to gauge the performance of their past recommendations, Justin Post and Brad Erickson have a total average return of 17.8% and -23.5% respectively. Post has a success rate of 65.1% and is ranked #43 out of 3839 analysts, while Erickson has a success rate of 30.3% and is ranked #3772.
Overall, 6 research analysts have assigned a Hold rating and 8 research analysts have given a Buy rating to the stock. When considering if perhaps the stock is under or overvalued, the average price target is $1459.09 which is 7.8% above where the stock closed yesterday.
The Priceline Group, Inc. is an online travel company, which provides travel and related services. It offers accommodation reservations including hotels, bed and breakfasts, hostels, apartments, vacation rentals and other properties. The company provides services through Booking.com, priceline.com, agoda.com, KAYAK, rentalcars.com and OpenTable brands. Its priceline.com brand also offers consumers reservations for rental cars, airline tickets, vacation packages and cruises. The company also allows consumers to easily compare airline ticket, hotel reservation and rental car reservation information from hundreds of travel websites at once through KAYAK.