Trouble in Paradise: Jetsetter’s Founder and CEO Steps Down

Drew Patterson founder and CEO of Jetsetter, has stepped down from his position as head of the high-end luxury discount sales travel site owned by Gilt Groupe.

Patterson’s departure was first reported by Betabeat and confirmed by a Jetsetter spokeswoman, who added that he was asked to step down because of staffing issues and low morale — not because of the company’s operations.

Clearly, there are signs of trouble in paradise: This time, pretty pictures of luxurious vacations in exotic locations like Turks & Caicos can’t cover up what’s really going on at the New York-based start-up. Prior to Patterson’s departure, a handful of executives left, including Jetsetter’s chief marketing officer, Barry Herstein; VP of merchandising and operations Heather Leisman; and former head of marketing Stephanie Dolgins, Betabeat reported.

Rob Deeming, who has been at Gilt for the past three years, and recently was in charge of opening Jetsetter’s U.K. office, will become acting general manager.

Betabeat, which interviewed Gilt’s CEO Kevin Ryan about the executive shake-up, also reported that the travel division has faced other problems with getting its international operations up and running, and that it was burning a ton of cash. However, the company claims that Jetsetter is on track to record $100 million in gross bookings this year, and to be profitable next year.

This is not the first internal shake-up at Gilt Groupe, which earlier this year trimmed roughly 10 percent of its employees, including some of its management team. At the time, Ryan downplayed the situation by saying that the cuts were designed to get the company to cash-flow positive by the second quarter, and profitable by the fourth quarter. But other reports painted a fairly grim picture of the situation.

Prior to Jetsetter, Patterson was part of the founding team at Kayak, where he was VP of marketing.


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