Kayak closes West Coast US office, some jobs to go
Metasearch engine Kayak is scaling back its US operations to two offices on the East Coast after shutting the Sunnyvale operation in California.
A number of redundancies will take place – various sources suggesting up to 20, but no figures confirmed as yet – as the business concentrates its efforts and structure to offices in Connecticut and Massachusetts.
It is not clear which departments are affected by the changes, but it is understood that no board directors are leaving and only one senior department head will go (the team picture, however, features significantly fewer individuals than previously).
The casualty is Brian Harniman, most recently vice president of emails and deals within the company (had previously been EVP of marketing and distribution) who was spearheading the company’s short-lived poke into the world of hotel private-sales – an initiative CEO Steve Hafner confirmed in November had not materialised into anything significant.
Kayak announced its intention to seek a listing on the public markets in November 2010. Nevertheless, potential investors looking at Kayak’s IPO probably won’t be displeased to see that Kayak is taking steps to trim its headcount.
At the time of the announcement to go for an IPO, staff numbers had reached 140.
The company would not comment on the redundancies, only confirming the departure of Harniman. Hafner says:
“Brian is a tremendous resource, but his position after closing the Sunnyvale office was too small for his liking or for our liking, so he’s chosen to leave to pursue another startup opportunity.”
The company’s presence on the West Coast came about after its acquisition of rival metasearch engine Sidestep in December 2007.
After the sale, around 80 people left Sidestep, including CEO Rob Solomon (now president of current web darling, Groupon).
Those remaining from Sidestep and taking up the majority of the West Coast office are understood to have been account management, email marketing and some engineering positions.
The closure of the office comes just 12 months after a intra-state move from Santa Clara to Sunnyvale.
Kevin May is a senior editor and one of the co-founders at Tnooz. He was previously editor of UK-based magazine Travolution and web editor of Media Week UK from 2003 to 2005.
He has worked in regional newspapers (Essex Enquirer) and started his career in journalism at the Police Gazette at New Scotland Yard in London. He has a degree in criminology, a postgraduate diploma in magazine journalism and will be publishing his first book - a biography about electronic band, Depeche Mode - soon.