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Expedia’s Payout to Its Ousted CEO Could Be Nearly $12 Million

Seth Borko and Dennis Schaal, Skift
Expedia’s Payout to Its Ousted CEO Could Be Nearly $12 Million

Mark Okerstrom, the Expedia Group CEO who was forced out by the board in early December, is leaving with an exit package potentially worth around $11.8 million at the date of his resignation, December 4, according to a Skift Research estimate.

That includes $1.75 million in cash, $5.73 million in restricted stock units, and nearly $4.3 million in stock options, Skift Research calculates. (See chart.)

But it’s important to note that Okerstrom still has plenty of skin in the game. He will likely be rooting for interim leaders Barry Diller, Peter Kern, and the rest of the board to come up with an Expedia Group turnaround strategy and perform well over the next 18 months when the former CEO’s unvested options expire.

That’s because if Expedia’s stock remains at around $105 per share, where it was when Okerstrom resigned December 4, he would actually earn around $7.6 million versus potentially $11.8 million that includes the face value of his options today. Skift Research calculated the options value using the Black Scholes Model with an 18-month expiration period.

Mark Okerstrom’s Golden Parachute

Compensation Type Intrinsic Value Option Value
Cash $1,750,000 $1,750,000
Restricted Stock Units $5,729,638 $5,729,638
Stock Options $123,850 $4,295,363
Total Severance $7,603,488 $11,775,001

Source: Skift Research, Securities and Exchange Commission filings

Okerstrom’s golden parachute pales in comparison to what his predecessor, Dara Khosrowshahi, could have drawn from Expedia. When Khosrowshahi resigned from Expedia to become Uber’s CEO in late August 2017, Skift Research estimated he left $160 to $200 million in unvested compensation on the table.

Okerstrom, however, was on the job as CEO for a little more than two years and was forced out because Expedia underperformed. Khosrowshahi left Expedia voluntarily in 2017 and had run the company for a dozen years.

In another apples-to-oranges comparison, fired Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg this week departed the company with a golden parachute worth around $36 million, according to published reports, compared with Okerstrom’s $11.8 million.

Expedia’s incentive-laden compensation package for Okerstrom worked mostly as intended. Okerstrom was getting a ton of stock — including more than 400,000 stock options — so because the company’s stock price fell to $105 per share by the time he left the intrinsic value of his package came in at around $7.6 million.

But if Expedia stock had leveled off at around its 52-week high of $144, then Okerstrom’s package would have been worth around $18.3 million.

In other words, the challenged performances of Expedia Group brands Vrbo and Trivago cost Okerstrom big bucks.

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