- Sebastien Nogier/Reuters
The CEO of Priceline Group, Darren Huston, has stepped down because of a “personal conduct issue,” according to a release from the company.
“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 release said.
“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.”
A representative for Priceline Group told Business Insider, “This did not involve issues about the company’s financial statements, accounting, or internal controls over financial reporting.”
The spokespoerson would not provide further details on the matter, but did direct Business Insider to the company’s Code of Conduct. The policy states:
Priceline Group employees should not be in the position of supervising, reviewing or having any influence on the job evaluation, pay or benefits of any close relative (spouse, partner, parent, child, sibling, nephew, niece, aunt, uncle, grandparent or grandchild) or a person with whom you are having a close personal/romantic relationship.
The policy also states that if any personal conflict of interest arises the employee has an “obligation” to report that conflict.
Huston had been CEO of the group, which includes the travel and booking sites Kayak, Priceline, Booking.com, and OpenTable, since 2014 after serving as the CEO of Booking.com since 2011. He previously worked for Microsoft as CEO of Microsoft Japan.
Under Huston the company grew revenue from $4.3 billion in 2011 to $6.5 billion in 2015. Over the same time the stock tripled, going from about $440 a share at the start of 2011 to about $1,350 a share today. Shares are down about $14 a share, or 1%, in premarket trading.
Huston will be replaced on an interim basis by Jeffrey Boyd, who served as CEO of the company from 2002 to 2013, until a new CEO is found.