Instacart Hires Facebook Executive Fidji Simo as CEO

Grocery delivery app Instacart announced that it has hired Facebook app chief Fidji Simo as its new CEO, making her the first outside person to lead the latest $ 39 billion startup. Dollars.

It’s an example of how Facebook loses a key executive and a person of color as the company tries to improve diversity in its workplace.

Simo, 35, of France, is among the highest-ranking female executives on Facebook after COO Sheryl Sandberg and Chief Commercial Officer Marne Levine. Simo’s departure will create a vacancy at the head of Facebook’s main social network, a position that reports to Chief Product Officer Chris Cox and is aligned with the heads of Instagram, WhatsApp and Messenger.

Simo will succeed Instacart founder Apoorva Mehta on August 2. Mehta will become executive chairman of the board.

Simo told CNBC in an interview this week how his decision to leave was handled by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

“Well, you know, it wasn’t like you can imagine, it wasn’t a one-time conversation,” he said. “It was over the course of several weeks. And, you know, what I deeply, deeply appreciate about Mark is that he’s been a supporter from day one, and I really wanted to make sure he understood my motivation and what I wanted. to do with my life and what I was looking for. He has been very supportive throughout the entire process. It’s obviously sad that we couldn’t find something that lined up on Facebook, but it has also been incredibly supportive of me in taking on this role, which I am always grateful for. ”

Simo joined the Instacart board earlier this year as its first female member after Mehta reached out to her with a cold email.

“To be honest, the idea of ​​someone else running the company had never crossed my mind,” Mehta told CNBC. “But I have been impressed by his abilities as a leader.”

Simo has been on Facebook since joining a product marketing role in 2011. He made his way by improving Facebook’s main “blue” app, which he has been in charge of since March 2019, according to his LinkedIn profile. Simo played a key role in the company’s initiatives to bring more video content to the Facebook app through video autoplay, live streaming, and the Facebook Watch video streaming product, for example.

After spending “hundreds of hours” with Simo, Mehta said, “What became clear to me was that we both shared a really ambitious vision for Instacart.”

Simo said he wants to turn Instacart into an “amazing consumer app.”

“An app that people want to open many times a week to get inspired by the content of the food and then buy our food online,” he said. Beyond food delivery, Simo said he will embrace Instacart’s growing advertising and entrepreneurial businesses.

Simo also said that he sees parallels with what he has done on Facebook.

“We saw the emergence of a lot of startups built on top of Facebook ads,” he said. “And I see the same thing happening within the Instacart business, where not only are existing food companies reaching new customers, but I see new food companies have the potential to be created.”

Amid the coronavirus pandemic, Instacart has become one of the most valuable private companies in the U.S. Since early 2020, its valuation has nearly quadrupled to $ 39 billion, making it the third Largest US-based private company, behind fintech giant Stripe and Elon Musk’s SpaceX, according to Pitchbook.

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