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Mark Britton

It’s been a little while since Avvo co-founder Mark Britton worked in the travel business. But he’ll be dusting off those old skills as the most recent board appointment at Orbitz, the giant publicly-traded online travel company. Britton, the former general counsel and executive vice president at Expedia, replaces outgoing board member Rick Fox.

It may be a good thing to have a lawyer like Britton in the board room. Orbitz today was just slapped with an antitrust lawsuit by American Airlines, alleging that the company has engaged in anticompetitive activities.

It is a bit unusual to see a startup guy like Britton take such a high-profile board seat. And while the board seat will take time, Britton tells GeekWire that it will also help the Avvo “get smarter.”

“Orbitz is doing all sorts of interesting things around marketing, business operations, etc.,” he says. “Learning from their best practices will only make me a better CEO and Avvo a better company.”

Orbitz, which is publicly-traded on the Nasdaq, boasts a market value of $349 million. The stock has lost 53 percent of its value in the past year, so Britton’s job won’t be so easy.

Britton, 44, has spent most of his time over the past five years building Avvo, an online service that provides reviews and rankings of lawyers and medical professionals. The company pulled in $10 million in venture financing last year from DAG Ventures, Ignition Partners and Benchmark Capital.

Britton also said that he’s excited to work with Barney Harford again, who previously ran Expedia’s Asia operations and now serves as the Orbitz CEO.

“He’s one of the smartest and dynamic people I know,” said Britton.

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