The social-media company just hired Derek Andersen, a vice president of finance at Amazon.com Inc., to be its VP of finance, reporting to Tim Stone. Stone, whom Snap hired last month as chief financial officer, also came from Amazon. Another within the executive ranks also hailed from the e-commerce giant: Jerry Hunter, promoted to lead engineering at Snap in December, used to run infrastructure for Amazon’s cloud business.
Snap confirmed Andersen’s hire and said he’s starting on July 9. The Los Angeles-based company, which runs the Snapchat mobile photo-sharing app, has had plenty of management slots to fill, with frequent executive turnover since going public in March 2017. Many of those roles have been filled from within the company, because fitting in with Snap’s demanding and secretive culture isn’t easy.
Still, Seattle-based Amazon, where high performance is prized and whose chief executive officer, Jeff Bezos, has called work-life balance a “debilitating phrase,” may churn out employees who are a better fit than Snap’s Silicon Valley peers, known for their perks, transparency and flexible hours. Amazon over the years has also been given permission by Wall Street to take bold risks, however unprofitable, with analysts and investors trusting that eventually it will pay off. The stock has jumped more than sixfold in the past five years. Unprofitable Snap may be aiming for a similar trajectory.
There’s a lot of pressure on Snap for a reason. Being a public company “requires a bit more grit,” Snap CEO Evan Spiegel said at a conference last week. The company’s growth has recently been stunted by a controversial app redesign that turned off new users and spooked advertisers. Sales in the first quarter declined 19 percent from the prior period, and the stock is trading 28 percent below its IPO price. Meanwhile, Snap needs to prove that it can carve out a good slice of the digital-advertising market, where Facebook Inc. and Alphabet Inc.’s Google dominate. Andersen’s team will be charged with making the right bets while keeping the company’s costs in check. Snap in March cut 7 percent of its staff in a reorganization.
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