Priceline founder Walker to leave company

Beleaguered name-your-own-price online retailer Inc. announced late Thursday that company founder Jay S. Walker is leaving the company to spend more time at his high-tech incubator, Walker Digital Corp.

Walker will step down from his position as vice-chairman effective December 31, the company said in a statement.

“Mr. Walker said he was leaving … in order to focus on business challenges facing Walker Digital, including the licensing of its intellectual property portfolio and commercialization of several related services,” said the statement.

His resignation comes as both companies are suffering tough times.

In late November Walker Digital, which helped found Priceline, lost a key round of financing and was forced to lay off around 100 employees, approximately 30 per cent of the company’s workforce, and discontinue support of three early-stage companies.

Earlier in the same month Priceline said it would lay off 16 per cent of its employees and then, later in November, warned of disappointing fourth-quarter sales – at the time the latest in a string of bad news from the company but not the last for the year. In early December Priceline said it was shelving plans to expand into Japan and Australia and cut a further 11 percent of its workforce. Inc., in Norwalk, Conn., can be contacted at