Rightmove has named Johan Svanström, former chief executive of travel booking website Expedia Group Inc and McDonald’s Corp as its new boss.
He will replace Peter Brooks-Johnson as chief executive once the portal publishes its full-year results.
Brooks-Johnson will continue to lead the business and support an orderly transition until after the presentation of the 2022 full year financial results.
Svanström will join Rightmove on 20 February 2023 as executive director and chief executive-designate and will be appointed chief executive on 6 March 2023.
The appointment from outside the property sector may surprise some and Rightmove’s share price fell 2.57% off the back of the news on Friday.
Following his appointment as Global President of Hotels.com and Expedia Affiliate Network brands in 2013, he served on the Expedia Group global leadership team and over five years grew revenues to over $3 billion and led direct teams of 1,500 people across four continents.
Svanström started at Expedia as one of the company’s first employees in Asia, where he led the effort to set up the company’s operations across the continent, working up to global president of Hotels.com and the affiliate network brands.
He joined from McDonald’s Inc, where he led several successful major projects within the company’s digital innovation group, having previously held CEO and leadership positions in telecommunications and internet start-ups.
A Swedish national based in the UK, Svanström currently serves as a partner at EQT Growth Advisory Team, which is part of EQT, a global investment organisation.
He has many years of experience as a board director of both public and private technology companies across multiple countries.
Rightmove chairman Andrew Fisher said: “I would like to thank Peter for his outstanding leadership as CEO over the past five years and for his significant contribution to the company throughout the past 16 years. Under his leadership the Company has significantly increased value for our customers and home hunters, with time spent on Rightmove increasing from 11.7bn minutes in 2016, to over 18bn in 2021.
“This has delivered sustained growth for our shareholders, increasing annual revenues from £220 million to £304 million in the same period and returning more than £750 million through dividends and share buybacks.”
“I am delighted to welcome Johan, whose proven ability to scale established companies along with his digital acumen and experience of marketplaces will continue to add significant value for our customers, home hunters, shareholders and team.”
Svanström added: “I’m very excited to join Rightmove and look forward to building on the Company’s strong position and partnership model together with the team.
“Technology continues to provide opportunities to grow markets and create efficiencies everywhere. Rightmove has a long runway of opportunities to innovate, digitise and create ever more value for users, customers, and the wider eco-system.”