Compass taps Priceline alum Maelle Gavet as new COO

Maelle Gavet and Robert Reffkin

From the New York website: Compass tapped a tech industry veteran with experience running a public company to be its new COO, another sign that the venture capital-backed brokerage may be gearing up for an IPO.

Maëlle Gavet, a former executive vice president of global operations at online travel giant Priceline Group, is taking over the job from David Snider, who served as both COO and CFO. Snider will transition into a purely CFO role.

Gavet will oversee technology, product, and marketing, reporting to co-founder and CEO Robert Reffkin, the firm said in a statement.

Gavet stepped down from her job at Priceline late last year after the company’s C-suite reportedly collapsed. Priceline’s CEO, Darren Huston, resigned after an affair with a Priceline employee and his replacement, Jeff Boyd, had a different vision for the company.

“What that meant for me was a much more narrow job and much less operational, and because of that I decided to leave,” Gavet said at a Fortune conference last year.

After a $75 million Series D round led by Wellington Management in August, Compass’ valuation crossed $1 billion, making it the New York residential world’s first unicorn. But in recent months, there’s been speculation that Wellington was pushing for high-level management changes.

“With her experience leading global operations for the third largest e-commerce company in the world and managing and building high-performing teams, I am confident that Maëlle will successfully drive and execute the company’s strategic priorities and accelerate our growth,” Reffkin said.

At Priceline, where she worked for less than two years, Gavet, who is from France, helped to integrate its various different brands, which included Booking.com, Priceline.com, Kayak and OpenTable. She was previously CEO of Russian online retailer OZON Holdings and a principal at Boston Consulting Group.

A December 2012 Fast Company profile described Mavet as the “Jeff Bezos of Russia.”

A representative for Compass didn’t discuss any plans for an IPO, but said that the firm had revenues of over $180 million in 2016. It wasn’t clear how much of that, if any, was profit. It also expanded its office presence across the U.S., bringing its total locations to 26, up from 17 in 2015.

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