Forbes Coaches Council Member

Leadership Insight: Expedia CPO

Many of you, I’m heads down working on the Leadership Lab no. 19 (LL19), a powerful, invite-only networking and leadership experience for emerging executives, who will be the thought leaders and industry shapers in our future C-Suites. It’s happening this fall, and nominations are open. For more information visit The Leadership Lab no. 19.

In doing my research, I’m asking C-suite executives for advice on how they’ve upped their game to think from the CEO’s perspective. Here’s advice from Alaska Airlines CFO, Brandon Pedersen.

Up Next: Nikki Krishnamurthy, Chief People Officer of Expedia.

I can see why, about a year ago, former CEO Dara Khosrowshahi asked Nikki to step into the role of Chief People Officer. At the time, Nikki had global P&L responsibility for the tours, activities and ground transportation business, both online and offline for Expedia. She is a rare combination of business expertise, systems thinking and genuine caring for people and their futures.

Rather than thinking about development from a deficit or limited perspective as so many do, she aspires to create a development ecosystem where people learn how and are motivated to develop each other. Already, she is having a measurable impact. I had a great conversation with Nikki that culminated in some rapid-fire questions. Here’s her insight.

Besides integrity, what’s the one behavior or trait you think every leader must have in order to be great.
Curiosity. Leaders have to be interested and must continue to learn. We need to ask questions that deepen and further our understanding.

What skills did you need to learn to help you think from the CEO’s perspective?
Inner-confidence. When I falter, it’s because I didn’t trust my own instincts.

What is your best advice for emerging leaders?
In addition to trusting your instincts, work hard. I don’t know any leader who doesn’t work hard. There can be flexibility, but working hard helps you learn more and speed up your ability to have impact.

Describe your leadership in 3 words
Creative, thoughtful and chaotic.

What’s a piece of advice you received early in your career but didn’t believe until now.
To speak up! I remember an early in my career, a leader told me “Nikki, you have great ideas but you bring them up after the meeting. Once it’s over, I can’t go back and present them.” There is a precious moment when we have the ability to influence people, and I would often let that moment go.

If you had a talk show, who would be your first guest? And what would you ask them?
Nelson Mandela “how did you keep your faith?”

Nikki Krishnamurthy is Chief People Officer of Expedia, Inc., where she is responsible for global Human Resources strategy and planning for the entire employee life-cycle (recruiting, retention, total compensation, etc.), focused on continually improving the employee experience.

 The Leadership Lab no 19 is designed for emerging executives to develop the skills and expand the capacity to think ‘from the CEO’s perspective’. It’s invite-only, and it’s not for everyone. But if you are a thought leader and industry shaper on the trajectory to the C-Suite, then it may be for you. Get in touch with me because You should be there!


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