TravelPod founder Luc Levesque departing Ottawa to take on ‘major initiative’ at Facebook

A well-known Ottawa tech entrepreneur is leaving the capital to “work on a major initiative” at Facebook headquarters in California.

Luc Levesque, who founded a company called TravelPod that provides free travel blogs to globetrotters and eventually sold it to TripAdvisor, made the announcement on his Facebook page last week.

“After 9 great years at TripAdvisor, it’s now time for another adventure,” wrote Mr. Levesque, an OBJ Forty Under 40 recipient in 2008. “This is the perfect next step in my life and I’m looking forward to leveraging my experience in product, growth and engineering to make an impact at a scale that very few companies can offer.”

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Mr. Levesque said in an e-mail to OBJ he will start his new job in January but didn’t elaborate on the type of work he’ll be doing because his specific role isn’t public yet.

The 41-year-old originally launched TravelPod in 1997, before most people had ever heard of blogging, and eventually built the site into an industry leader with more than 20,000 users before it was purchased by TripAdvisor in 2006.

Mr. Levesque spent the past decade in various roles at TripAdvisor, which says it is the world’s largest travel site. Most recently, he was in charge of growing traffic to the site from search engines and Apple distribution channels.

A computer science graduate of Algonquin College, Mr. Levesque has earned accolades for his human resources practices. His “user manual” for new employees – in which he outlined his personal leadership style and what he expected of new hires – drew the attention of media outlets such as the New York Times and two years ago earned him an International Business Award for executive of the year in the Internet and New Media category from the Washington, D.C.-based Stevie Awards organization.

“It takes time for people to figure out a (company’s culture),” Mr. Levesque told Ottawa HR magazine in a 2014 interview. “Wouldn’t it be nice if on day one, there’s a blueprint that says, ‘Here is how I work and these are my quirks.’ So I made one.”

Mr. Levesque has also served as an adviser to several other companies, including Pinterest, Quora and Twitter.

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