Bumble Founder Whitney Wolfe Herd to Step Down as CEO

Bumble Founder Whitney Wolfe Herd to Step Down as CEO

Bumble Inc. Chief Executive Officer Whitney Wolfe Herd will step down from the company she founded nearly 10 years ago.

Slack Technologies Inc. CEO Lidiane Jones, who succeeded founder Stewart Butterfield earlier this year, will take over from Wolfe Herd starting in January, the company said in a statement Monday. Wolfe Herd will stay on as executive chair.

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The shares fell as much as 10% to $12.29, their lowest price on record.

“It’s a monumental moment, one that has taken a great deal of time, consideration and care, for me to pass the baton to a leader and a woman I deeply respect,” Wolfe Herd said in the statement. “This move to Executive Chair gives me the ability to step forward into a new and exciting role, get back to my founder roots and bring immense passion and focus to this next chapter of growth.”

Wolfe Herd, 34, founded the women-centered dating app, which later expanded to include a professional social network, in 2014 and took the company public in 2021. She briefly became one of the world’s few women billionaires. Valued at more than $20 billion at its peak, Bumble shares have dwindled since its trading debut and the company is now worth $2.7 billion.

The company set itself apart from other dating apps like Tinder, which Wolfe Herd helped found before starting Bumble, by having women initiate the conversation after a match. Bumble has experimented with new pricing tiers, and recently launched a separate app focused on friendships, in addition to the professional matchmaking features it already has in its core app.

Evercore ISI analysts led by Shweta Khajuria said in a note that they are “incrementally negative on the news, and will be awaiting more details on the analyst call after its third-quarter earnings report on Tuesday.”

“We view Whitney’s departure as a near to midterm headwind for business operations and a negative for overall company morale,” they wrote. “The positive however, could be that Whitney continues to be the visionary for the company and brings an operator that is potentially more hands-on with investor communication, product expansion, and growth initiatives.”

Jones was previously an executive vice president at Salesforce Inc., which owns Slack, before taking over as CEO in January. 

The Wall Street Journal first reported the management change. 

(Updates with shares in third paragraph)

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