Three key Shopify execs to depart, leaving less than half of its top team
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Three of Shopify’s top executives will depart the company in the coming months.
Canada based Shopify has been one of the country’s highest profile tech startups, but also has yet to make a profit despite billions in valuation and revenue.
In an April 14, 2021, announcement, CEO Tobi Lütke announced Chief Talent Officer Brittany Forsyth, Chief Legal Officer Joe Frasca and Chief Technology Officer Jean-Michel Lemieux will “transition” out of their roles.
Including the September 2020 departure of Chief Product Officer Craig Miller means that over half of the top level C-suite at the company will change within a roughly seventh month period.
No replacements for the trio of exits were announced.
It’s also not immediately clear why the execs are leaving, especially with the company at what many see as a key point in its history — it went public about five years ago and just came off what appears to be a record year of revenue. It’s also immensely popular in the startup and tech circles, if not only to speculate if the company is over valued.
Shopify has a market cap, as of the day of the announcement, about $154 billion, making it Canada’s most valuable publicly traded company (it trades on the U.S. NYSE under the ticker SHOP and Toronto Stock Exchange under SH).
Shares are up over 130% year over year, thanks largely to the boost in ecommerce in general during the pandemic.
Some industry watchers, however, are taking a more cautious position as the pandemic subsides and stores are able to conduct business in person without concerns again. Online stores selling pandemic related supplies may dry up, while stores in other categories may find it hard to stay open if the economy doesn’t recover quickly.
Others think that the pandemic has changed the world of retail for good and it’s hard to argue that ecommerce wasn’t going to be a booming space even if the pandemic had never happened.
That said, the pandemic also wiped out a fair number of brick and mortar businesses, including independently owned ones and it could take years for these to be replaced. Some of these businesses opted to shift to online only in hopes of eliminating the cost of rent, utilities and other brick and mortar expenses. However, many of these same stores are facing an uncertain future with a stalled economy, debt and other factors.
Shopify recorded about $2.9 billion in revenue in its December 2020 reporting, but hasn’t made a dime in profit yet.
Some experts worry its sky high valuation is greatly inflated.
The company has also spent years investing in talent, expanding its workforce by thousands as part of a strategy to dominate the market. It currently has about 7,000 staffers and serves over 1.7 million businesses in 175 countries.
While most refer to Shopify as an ecommerce company, Shopify itself calls itself a “commerce” company because it also offers tools and services for in person selling, including point of sale systems.
Lütke, who is both chairman of the board and CEO, co-founded Shopify in 2006. His number two, President Harley Finkelstein, has been with the company since 2010.s