Disney Veteran Catherine Powell Tapped to Lead Airbnb Experiences, Ahead of Expected IPO

Jade Cooper
Catherine Powell

Head of Airbnb Experiences Catherine Powell. Credit: Airbnb

Catherine Powell has joined Airbnb’s executive team as Head of Experiences. In this role, Powell wil lead Airbnb’s Experiences division, which offers tours and activities like animal experiences and cooking classes.

The move comes ahead of Airbnb’s expected plans to take the company public later this year.

Powell worked at Disney for over 15 years, most recently as president of Disney Parks Western Region, including Walt Disney World, Disneyland, and Disneyland Paris, until she left in September. She replaces Joe Zadeh as head of Airbnb Experiences, who, in a lateral move, has transitioned into the role of Chief Stakeholder Officer.

Airbnb launched Experiences in 2016 to diversify beyond its core offering of accommodations and capture more of the travel economy. The Experiences division could play an important role as the company moves towards an initial public offering.

In a statement, Airbnb co-founder and CEO Brian Chesky, said: “Catherine is the perfect person to lead this business. Some people can come up with creative ideas, others know how to run big teams and scale big businesses. Catherine can do both.”

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