Instacart poaches Fb government Fidji Simo for CEO

Grocery delivery app Instacart announced that it has hired Facebook app boss Fidji Simo as its new CEO and named it as the first outsider to run the $ 39 billion startup.

Tom Alison, Facebook’s vice president of engineering, will replace Simo as head of the Facebook app, the company confirmed to CNBC on Thursday. Alison has been with the social media company since 2010. In his last role, he headed software development for Facebook groups, one of the key growth areas for the social network.

It’s an example of Facebook losing a key female executive and black person as the company tries to improve diversity in its workplace.

Simo, 35, is originally from France and is one of the highest-ranking female executives on Facebook after COO Sheryl Sandberg and Chief Business Officer Marne Levine. Simo’s departure will create a position at the top of Facebook’s main social network, a position reported to Chief Product Officer Chris Cox and coordinated with the heads of Instagram, WhatsApp and Messenger.

Simo will succeed Instacart founder Apoorva Mehta on August 2nd. Mehta will move to become Executive Chairman of the Board.

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

“Well, you know, it wasn’t what you can imagine, it wasn’t a one-time conversation,” she said. “It took several weeks. And what I deeply appreciate about Mark is that he was a supporter from day one and really wanted to make sure he understood my motivation and concern. ”Doing with my life and what I was looking for. He was incredibly supportive of me throughout the process. Of course it’s sad that we didn’t find anything suitable on Facebook, but also incredibly supported that I took on this role, for which I am always grateful to. “

Simo became the first female member to join Instacart’s board of directors earlier this year after Mehta contacted 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 was blown away by your leadership skills.”

Simo has been working in product marketing on Facebook since 2011. She worked her way up by improving Facebook’s primary “blue” app, which she has been responsible for since March 2019, according to her LinkedIn profile. Simo played a key role in the company’s initiatives to bring more video content to the Facebook app, for example through automatic video playback, live streaming and the video streaming product Facebook Watch.

After spending “hundreds of hours” with Simo, Mehta said, “I realized that we both share a really ambitious vision for Instacart.”

Simo said she wanted to make Instacart an “incredible consumer app”.

“An app that people want to open up very many times a week to get inspiration from food content and then buy our groceries online,” she said. In addition to food delivery, Simo said she will take over Instacart’s growing advertising and corporate business.

Simo also said that she sees parallels with what she did on Facebook.

“We saw how many new businesses came out of Facebook ads,” she said. “And I see the same thing in Instacart’s business, where not only do existing food companies reach new customers, but new food companies have the potential to be launched.”

In the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, Instacart has grown into one of the most valuable private companies in the United States. Since the beginning of 2020, its valuation has almost quadrupled to 39 billion US dollars, making it the third largest private start-up based in the USA after the fintech giant Stripe and Elon Musks SpaceX according to the Pitchbook.

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