CEO of the Year
In June last year, Tencent acquired Sofbank’s stake in Supercell for $8.6bn, valuing it at over $10bn – an extraordinary vote of confidence in the business, and testament to Ilkka’s exceptional leadership.
Since founding Supercell in 2010, Ilkka has grown the Finnish studio to become the world’s largest mobile game publisher by revenue, and retained this crown in the face of fierce competition from the likes of King and hit games such as Pokémon Go – all achieved with a staff of just 210.
Supercell’s four current games all make the all time top 35 highest-grossing list, with over 100m people playing them each day; in 2016, they generated profit of a billion dollars.
Under Gillian’s leadership, Booking.com has gone from strength to strength, and has become the jewel in Priceline’s crown. It is seeing strong revenue growth, with total property count now standing at over 1.2 million (representing 25.5m rooms), a year-on-year increase of 36%.
The company is continuing to innovate. Responding to the challenge of Airbnb and HomeAway, the Booking.com platform now includes approximately 640,000 instantly bookable vacation rental properties, a year-on-year growth rate of 51%. The company has also made bold investments in AI and machine learning, to create, amongst other things, bots and assistants to aid customers.
Skyscanner’s 2016 exit to Chinese travel giant, Ctrip, for $1.6bn, marked the culmination of an extraordinary journey for Gareth and his team.
Following seven consecutive years of double-digit growth, the company achieved revenues of £120m in 2016, with a 48% increase in year-on-year unique monthly visitors, as well as a 60% increase in mobile traffic. Its international footprint expanded significantly, with 48% growth in the Asia- Pacific region, 67% growth in China and 55% growth in the Americas.
Skyscanner is currently undertaking a major initiative to create a standard API for the airline industry, allowing the business to transition to a true marketplace model.