Kayak Europe boss quits after just eight months

US meta search giant Kayak has seen its overseas expansion plans thrown under the spotlight after European managing director Faisal Galaria unexpectedly quit the business last week.

The ex-Skype executive only joined Kayak in August 2008 with a mandate to grow the company in Europe and launch new sites in Asia.

However, Travolution has learned Galaria left the company following a disagreement with other members of the management team over strategy outside of the US.

It is understood co-founder and chief executive Steve Hafner was in London last week for meetings with the European team and Galaria ended his eight-month tenure on Friday last week.

Business development director Annie Wilson and a recent recruit to the sales team, Gareth Walton, are not affected by the changes.

A Kayak spokeswoman told Travolution that Galaria had left the business “to pursue other interests”.

The position will be filled in due course as well as other additions made to the European team, the spokeswoman continued.

Galaria would not comment on his sudden departure from Kayak except to say there was a “difference of opinion over the direction of the company”.

The company has grown primarily through word-of-mouth, keyword buying and PR in the UK since its launch.

Kayak has attracted plenty of praise for its technology and the site’s user experience since launching in the UK in 2006, but it still lags behind well-established market leader Travelsupermarket and other meta search sites such as Skyscanner.

The UK sector will also soon see the addition of other high profile players in the form of TripAdvisor, which is expected to shortly launch its flight meta search functionality in the UK, and Travelzoo’s new meta search engine fly.com, also expected this year.

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