Bloomberg News

Priceline Names Microsoft’s Huston as CEO of Booking.com

September 26, 2011

(Updates with Booking.com revenue in third paragraph.)

Sept. 26 (Bloomberg) -- Priceline.com Inc., the biggest U.S. online travel agency by stock market value, appointed former Microsoft Corp. executive Darren Huston as chief executive officer of its European hotel unit, Booking.com.

Kees Koolen, the founder and former head of Booking.com, will serve as chairman, the Norwalk, Connecticut-based company said today in a statement.

Revenue in Priceline’s international business, the bulk of which comes from Booking.com, surged 90 percent to $612.9 million in the second quarter, accounting for 56 percent of total sales. Since acquiring Amsterdam-based Booking.com in 2005, Priceline’s annual revenue has more than tripled and the stock price has jumped more than 20-fold.

“Globally, there are significant opportunities for our business, both in core markets and in developing ones,” Huston, 45, said in the statement.

Booking.com offers access to more than 165,000 hotels in 43 languages. Priceline also owns Agoda.com in Bangkok.

Priceline fell $1.02 to $513.59 at 4 p.m. today on the Nasdaq Stock Market. The shares have gained 29 percent this year, compared with the 7.5 percent drop in the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index.

Huston joined Microsoft, the world’s largest software maker, in 2003 and spent the last three years as corporate vice president in the consumer and online business. From 2005 to 2008 he was CEO of Microsoft Japan, the largest unit of the Redmond, Washington-based company outside the U.S.

Prior to Microsoft, Huston was a senior vice president at Starbucks Corp., handling acquisitions and product development at the world’s biggest operator of coffee shops. Huston has a master’s degree in business administration from Harvard Business School.

--Editors: Jillian Ward, Nick Turner

To contact the reporter on this story: Ari Levy in San Francisco at alevy5@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Tom Giles at tgiles5@bloomberg.net


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