Feargal Mooney steps down at Hostelworld

Former Expedia executive Gary Morrison to become chief executive on June 11th

Feargal Mooney, left: Mr Mooney’s departure follows that of CFO Mari Hurley, who said in December she would leave the business in the first half of this year. File photograph: Dave Meehan

Feargal Mooney is to step down as chief executive of Hostelworld, the Irish hostel-focused online booking platform.

Mr Mooney, who joined Hostelworld 16 years ago, will step down as both chief executive and director of the company, which grew its bookings by 6 per cent in 2017, on June 11th.

He will hand over the reins to Gary Morrison, formerly head of retail operations with global travel company Expedia.

Michael Cawley, chairman of Hostelworld, said: "Feargal has been speaking with me and the board about his plans for the long term and consequently some months ago we focused our attentions on succession to facilitate an orderly transition.


“We are delighted to appoint a candidate of Gary’s calibre and experience to succeed Feargal. Gary’s experience of the travel industry together with his track record of growth in an online marketing business make him an ideal choice to drive the business forward and deliver on our ambitious goals.”

Mr Mooney joined Hostelworld shortly after it was established, working initially as chief operations and finance officer and, since 2008, as chief executive. Mr Mooney steered the group from private ownership to a IPO in 2015, and has led the globalisation of the business including the development of offices in Shanghai, Seoul and Sydney.


He received total remuneration of €768,800 in 2017, down from €1.3 million a year earlier.

“After 16 years developing the business, 10 as chief executive, I believe that a change will be good for me personally and for Hostelworld,” Mr Mooney said. “I am proud to have been a part of bringing Hostelworld this far and in particular to have progressed the key strategic pillars which formed the basis of our stock market flotation in 2015.”

The departure of Mr Mooney follows that of chief financial officer Mari Hurley, who announced last December that she would leave the business in the first half of 2018.

Number of roles

Mr Morrison joins Hostelworld from Expedia, where he has served in a number of roles, most recently as head of its retail operations, and prior to that heading up Expedia's EMEA region. Previously, Mr Morrison worked with Google and Motorola.

“ The Hostelworld Group has been very successful at delivering social travel experiences for almost 19 years, and I am looking forward to working with the Hostelworld team, the board, hostellers and our partners to deliver the next phase of growth,” Mr Morrison said.

Fiona Reddan

Fiona Reddan

Fiona Reddan is a writer specialising in personal finance and is the Home & Design Editor of The Irish Times