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The Inside Story of Airbnb’s Management Shakeup and Battle to Stay Private

Authors : Olivia Zaleski and Eric Newcomer, Bloomberg - Feb 06, 2018 5:30 pm

Source : Skift

Who needs an IPO when you can control the limits of space and time on an “infinite time horizon” like Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky? Also, if two-thirds of the company’s profits were being generated by ex-CFO Tosi’s hedge fund within the company, how will the company fare without him?

Deanna Ting

Early last week, the top executives of Airbnb Inc. gathered in San Francisco for annual planning meetings. They were brimming with confidence. The home-rental company had exceeded financial projections for 2017, with $93 million in profit on $2.6 billion in revenue, said people with knowledge of the matter. Airbnb was ready, by some employees’ estimations, to begin the process to go public.

But the boss had another view. Brian Chesky, the 36-year-old co-founder and chief executive officer, privately informed his financial chief, Laurence Tosi, that Airbnb wouldn’t initiate an initial public offering this year. The news came as a surprise to Tosi. He had been discussing the prospect with major investors before transitioning to a larger role beyond finance.

Chesky made it clear that things wouldn’t go as Tosi wanted. Chesky said he would promote Belinda Johnson, who was running business affairs and legal, to chief operating officer. Tosi had expected to get the COO job after Airbnb’s public offering. He’d struggled to work with Johnson in the past, and some insiders viewed the move as a way to force Tosi’s departure. Accounts differ on whether Chesky then asked Tosi for his resignation, but by the end of the meeting, the CFO was out.

Although the two men had many feuds, the question of when to sell shares to the public was a recurring point of contention between Chesky and Tosi. Four prominent backers—General Atlantic, Glade Brook Capital, Technology Crossover Ventures and TPG—supported Tosi’s plan to begin the listing process by drafting paperwork as soon as next month, according to emails reviewed by Bloomberg and people familiar with the matter. These firms also encouraged the prospect of him taking a more influential role at the company, the people said. Tosi and a spokesman for Airbnb declined to comment.

Read the full article here: Skift


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