Former Dell EMC Infrastructure Chief David Goulden, who is scheduled to officially depart the company as of Feb. 1, is taking a new job as executive vice president and chief financial officer at discount online travel booking company The Priceline Group.
Goulden, who was with EMC for more than a decade before it was acquired by Dell in the largest deal in IT history, will take on the new role effective March 1.
Goulden was president of Dell EMC's Enterprise Systems Group with responsibility for servers, storage, networking and converged infrastructure before announcing his plans to leave the company last Fall.
Goulden will lead The Priceline Group's global financial operations, including the Group's Finance, Tax, Treasury, Accounting, Internal Audit, Corporate Development and Investor Relations teams. He will report directly to Glenn Fogel, the Group's Chief Executive Officer.
Goulden's appointment comes with Priceline under pressure from Google which competes in that market as well as hotels which have made gains in getting customers to book directly with them.
John Shaw, the founder and CEO of Digital Nebula, an Austin, Texas, solution provider startup that is breaking new ground in artificial-intelligence- (AI) based technology solutions, said Goulden needs to reinvent Priceline to compete in the AI era.
Shaw, who early in his career worked at bringing legacy travel reservation systems into the online era, said he expects Goulden to overlay the legacy Priceline platform with AI based systems that will allow it to better compete against the likes of competitors like the Hotel Tonight mobile app.
"I expect Priceline to transform their user experience with AI to target different segments of the market, whether it be small businesses looking for travel compliance or millennials," said Shaw. "Right now the company is spread across multiple markets from consumers to businesses."
Shaw, who like Goulden grew up in Manchester, England, said he sees the Dell EMC veteran as a "working class hero" who will be successful in transforming the Priceline experience.
"Goulden is a scrapper and a street fighter," Shaw said. "He is going to turn that organization around with his EMC sales experience. That ring the bell sales culture is going to be an eye opener to Priceline. When EMC goes after a sale they go after it and win it. That is what Goulden is going to bring to Priceline."
Rob Steele, practice manager for RoundTower Technologies, a Cincinnati-based solution provider and Dell EMC partner believes Goulden will help boost profitability at Priceline.
"It sounded like he wanted a different change of pace," said Steele. "He had a lot on his plate at Dell EMC. Priceline will give him a new opportunity for a more software-based, as-a-service type of company versus an infrastructure company. He'll do great as CFO."
Bob Venero, CEO of Holbrook, N.Y.-based solution provider Future Tech, No. 119 on the 2017 CRN Solution Provider 500, said he sees Goulden's Priceline challenge as the challenge facing every other business in the digital transformation era.
"Companies that don't adapt to the digital age are not going to be around past the next decade," he said. "That means adapting and transforming everything that relates to IT including business analytics and business intelligence .At the end of the day, Goulden has a lot of digital knowledge and experience aimed at helping companies change and adapt. That is something that Priceline is desperately in need of at this point."
Goulden, for his part, said in a prepared statement that digital transformation across most industries provides a "growing opportunity" for companies. He said that with less than half of all travel transactions taking place online The Priceline Group is "well positioned to continue to capitalize on this growth opportunity within the $1.6 trillion global travel industry."
Additional Reporting By Mark Haranas