Travel

Top paid online travel agency executives

Expedia Group rewarded Vice Chairman and CEO Peter Kern with a $296 million compensation package in 2021, an order of magnitude ahead of all his peers and reportedly making him the third-highest CEO award in all of corporate America.

See the chart below for 2021 CEO compensation for Expedia Group, Booking Holdings, Tripadvisor and Airbnb.. The companies disclosed their executives’ compensation in May.

On paper, thanks to Kern’s wealth, Airbnb co-founder and CEO Brian Chesky’s $120 million 2020 package seems like a relatively paltry sum.

All these comparisons are apples versus oranges. We will explain.

To put all of this into perspective, at first glance, Kern’s 2021 compensation package has a 2,897:1 ratio compared to the average salary for Expedia workers, which was $102,270.

Kern’s 2021 compensation package, however, actually covers three years plus compensation for Covid-tinged 2020, while the average salary for Expedia employees was calculated for one year. (Chesky’s 2020 payload is for 10 years.)

“On February 25, 2021, Expedia Group entered into an employment agreement with Mr. Kern expiring on April 22, 2024 (the “Kern Agreement”), after which it is expected that Mr. Kern will continue to serve as Executive Vice Chairman company until at least June 1, 2026,” Expedia Group said in its financial statements.

The company said that Kern would not seek additional compensation during the term of the employment contract. Although the employment contract took effect in 2021, it included a base salary payment of $728,000 covering Kern’s first day as CEO on April 22, 2020 until the employment contract officially began 10 months later.

So over four years, Kern’s big paycheck will actually average a more modest — and yet gigantic — $74 million a year if the stock performs well. This is far more than its counterparts at Booking Holdings, Tripadvisor and Airbnb.

Pay Online Travel Agency CEO 2021

Executive Director Company Pay (all inclusive)
Peter Kern Expedia Group $296 million
Glenn Vogel Booking Holdings $54 million
steve kaufer Tripadvisor $7.6 million
Brian Chesky Airbnb $132,152

Source: Financial statements.

If Kern really got $296 million in four years, he would have made about $35,576 per hour for a 40 hour work week.

This should give Expedia Group board member Chelsea Clinton, who chaired the compensation committee in 2021, something to think about. Chelsea Clinton, Vice Chair of the Clinton Foundation, campaigned for her mom and 2020 presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, who backed a $15 nationwide minimum wage.

Chelsea Clinton and two other Expedia Board Compensation Committee members garnered large numbers of votes in their ultimately successful Expedia Board of Directors elections this month. There have been no public statements about what caused the vote to be denied, which often indicates displeasure, Kern’s compensation…

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