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Tripadvisor CEO | Steve Kaufer to Leave Post in 2022

After a more than 20-year run as co-founder and CEO of Tripadvisor, Steve Kaufer will step down in 2022, the company announced Monday.

“Steve has been the driving force at Tripadvisor since its launch in 2000,” said Tripadvisor Chairman Greg Maffei in a statement. “His contributions to the consumer’s travel experience are immeasurable, and his vision has resulted in the Tripadvisor we know today.”

The company initiated a search for a successor that will involve both internal and external candidates.

 “We come to the close of 2021 in a strong position, travelers are returning as we exit the pandemic, exciting new initiatives are well on their way, and we continue to leverage our strengths as we evolve Tripadvisor for the future,” Kaufer said in a statement. “Given our strong position, the talented teams driving our plans forward, and after over 20 years at Tripadvisor, I believe now is the best time to announce my plans to step away from the company next year. I have such respect and appreciation for all the teams over the years who have made this company what it is today, and remain devoted to continuing to guide the Tripadvisor family as CEO until the transition is complete.”

Tripadvisor dilemma was that it needed to show some of these hotel discounts to travelers to entice them to sign up for the program, and hoteliers objected to openly displaying these usually hidden, or opaque, rates to consumers without the stiff protection of a paywall.

Critics said Kaufer and Tripadvisor should have known about these issues when launching the program, and undoubtedly they did.

Tripadvisor’s stock price plummeted on the news about the changes to Tripadvisor Plus as the company had been extremely bullish about its potential. Subscription programs, including one from eDreams in Spain, have been gaining ground in the travel industry and beyond, namely with Amazon Prime as the best example.

But travelers weren’t accustomed to considering Tripadvisor as another Expedia, Priceline, or Booking.com, where they can book hotels. So Tripadvisor largely abandoned Instant Book to search for a new success formula.

Tripadvisor had many wins over the years, especially in its earlier days. When owned by Expedia before being spun off into a standalone pubic company in late 2011, it was an all-star in Expedia’s brand portfolio.

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