CHEAPFLIGHTS APPOINTS GROUP MANAGING DIRECTOR
COMPANY BUILDS MANAGEMENT TEAM FOR SECOND SUCCESSFUL DECADE
London & Boston (USA), 20 October, 2005: Cheapflights Ltd, the leading travel price comparison website in the UK, is pleased to announce that it has recruited Mr Christopher ("Chris") Cuddy as Group Managing Director ("MD"). This follows the appointment in August of David ('Dave') Owczarek as Group Chief Operating Officer ("COO"). The new MD will report to Group CEO David Soskin and will be based at the Company's Boston, Massachusetts, office.
Cheapflights Ltd. pioneered the concept of online publishing of travel deals in 1996 with its radical Cheapflights.co.uk flights price search and comparison portal. After ten years of profitable growth, Cheapflights announced in May this year that it intended to strengthen and restructure its senior management team to accelerate its next period of growth.
As a profitable private company unencumbered with debt, private equity or venture capital investors, the Company does not need an immediate exit strategy. However, with the potential provided by the global online travel market, Cheapflights believes it can add further value for its shareholders and employee option holders by restructuring for a period of further growth. Hugo Burge, Group Vice-Chairman and Head of International, who has been undertaking the role of COO as well as heading up Cheapflights' USA business, will now focus on the important growth area of business development in the European and Asian markets. In a further move, Group Finance Director, Simon Bicket, now joins the main Board of the company.
Filling the key new managing director role with effect from 24th October, 2005, Chris Cuddy will be joining the main Board of Cheapflights Ltd. and will also become President, Cheapflights (USA) Inc.. Chris has extensive executive and IT experience in fast-growing start-ups and medium to large corporations as well as advisory roles in the financing and development of technology companies in the US. A graduate of George Washington University, Washington DC, he holds a B.A. in Electrical Engineering/Computer Science. He also holds an MBA from Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA.
Chris currently has an advisory role with US East Coast based Bluestreak, a leading online interactive marketing services provider. He also advises Launchpad Venture Group, an angel investment group providing funding for innovative, technology driven early-stage companies. Chris’s most recent executive role was as VP and General Manager, New Markets of Lightbridge, Inc.. Lightbridge is quoted on NASDAQ and is a leading provider of real-time transaction management services. Prior to this he was Chief Executive of NASDAQ quoted Engage, Inc. a provider of enterprise software and services for advertising, marketing and promotion. He led the initiative for the successful spin out of this company from the majority shareholder CMGI, Inc. where he had previously been VP, Corporate development.
David Soskin, Cheapflights' CEO commented:
"We are delighted to welcome Chris to Cheapflights. We have now established a solid base from which to expand our business. Chris's blend of executive IT, corporate and financial experience brings an important additional resource to the Group. Our solid and profitable growth to-date has been made possible by investment in the right people and technology to provide the best possible online user experience and content for our sites. Having additional executives on board of the calibre of Chris Cuddy and Dave Owczarek will be invaluable in helping us to accelerate our next period of growth and achieve our new corporate objectives.”
Christopher Cuddy added: “Cheapflights is remarkable in that, apart from pioneering a profitable business model in travel price search and comparison in the UK, it has successfully exported this model to the USA. Cheapflights has a scaleable and proven business model. I believe Cheapflights has the opportunity to build from its current base a truly international travel price search and comparison portal. I very much look forward to joining Cheapflights’ team and helping achieve this goal.
www.Cheapflights.co.uk; www.Cheapflights.com; www.Cheapholidaydeals.co.uk; www.Cheapshortbreaks.co.uk www.Cheapaccommodation.com;
John Barrington-Carver, Corporate PR Tel: 07831 655 630
Notes to Editors
Founded in 1996 and profitable since launch, Cheapflights.co.uk pioneered the travel price comparison model in the UK and introduced pay-per-click in the UK in 2000.
Cheapflights does not sell any travel products Each day, its sites, display over one million constantly updated prices on flights, holidays, short breaks and accommodation, supplied from over 900 travel partners worldwide. These deals can be accessed online or by telephone direct with the advertiser. This makes Cheapflights one of the most comprehensive online publishers of travel deals available and a natural starting point for finding travel, holidays or accommodation.
Leading online measurement company Hitwise describes Cheapflights as ‘the UK’s favourite travel price comparison site’; and the Company's unique user numbers, including the US, support this, reaching 4,000,000 unique users in January 2005 (source: ABCe and Company Logfiles). www.cheapflights.co.uk qualified for the Hitwise Top 10 Award for the quarter ending September 2005 since the site ranked No. 8 by visits in the Travel - Agencies category against other UK websites.
The company estimates that it will generate travel product sales of over £1 billion for its more than 900 advertising partners in 2005. These advertisers read like a Who’s Who of the travel world - ranging from British Airways, Thomson and Lastminute.com to specialist operators like Barwell Travel , Llama Travel and Iglu.com.
Cheapflights is one of the few British internet companies successfully to establish an operation in the USA with Cheapflights.com. Launched in May 2003, it is already in the top 15 US travel sites (source: Hitwise USA, Travel Agencies Category) with over a million monthly unique users.
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