Orbitz Global CMO Wagner Steps Down

Position Eliminated as Company Focuses on Local Approach

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Web-based travel-booking giant Orbitz announced today the elimination of its global chief marketing officer position. It's dividing marketing duties among regional managers who will operate at the local level in the Americas, Europe and Asia Pacific.

CMO Randy Susan Wagner will step down on Feb. 15. Tom Russell, group VP-offline brand marketing, and Aaron Cooper, group VP-online marketing, the marketing team that previously reported to Ms. Wagner, will report directly to Orbitz CEO Steve Barnhart.

The shift in power reflects internal recognition that a local approach has been the most effective way toward global expansion.

Orbitz will continue to expand its presence worldwide but will promote sibling sites such as London-based ebookers.com and Sydney, Australia-based HotelClub.com.

'Operational focus'
"We have been operating marketing at the regional level for quite some time," said Brian Hoyt, senior director of public relations at Orbitz. "[Ms. Wagner] had intended this to be a global marketing position. As we've grown toward a more operational focus, we've realized it's better for the marketing programs too operate at the local level.

"We want to grow business in Europe and Asia Pacific," Mr. Hoyt said. "Today's move only helps us keep that focus."

Ms. Wagner joined Chicago-based Orbitz Worldwide in May 2005 following a strategic global marketing role at McDonald's Corp. She was responsible for the launch of several campaigns tied to OrbitzTLC, the company's acclaimed customer-service brand extension.
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