Tinder’s speed dating of their CEO results in Executive Shake-up
Steve’s breakdown: Tinder now has a new CMO, VP of international (marketing), VP of engineering & VP of finance. A good time to introduce the agency.
WEST HOLLYWOOD, CA: After unsuccessfully trying to add more experienced leadership last year — with the result of hiring and firing a CEO within five months — Tinder has made four significant hires to its leadership team.
Sources said the company is also making an acquisition — reportedly it is in advanced talks to buy contact management startup Humin — so more experienced execs is probably a good idea.
The popular dating app, based in the Los Angeles area, is adding Yahoo engineering exec Maria Zhang as its VP of engineering; Ferrell McDonald, most recently an independent marketing consultant and also a former Starz Entertainment marketing exec, as CMO; YouTube and Google marketing exec Derek Callow as VP of international; and James Kim of TigerText as VP of finance.
In addition, Tinder is handing CTO Ryan Ogle the product org, while current product head Jonathan Badeen will become strategy head. Current CMO Phil Schwarz “will take on a new role where he will continue to lead a range of marketing initiatives,” said Tinder.
“For a successful startup to become a successful business at scale, it’s essential to add talented people with a broader set of experiences while retaining the talent that made the startup successful to begin with,” said CEO and co-founder Sean Rad in a statement.
“Tinder is growing quickly, so this is all about setting us up to achieve our full potential as we scale into a global business,” said Matt Cohler of Benchmark, who is a Tinder board member and adviser.
These sentiments are not a lot different from what the company said when it brought in Chris Payne last year from eBay to take Rad’s job. In a turnabout, Rad grabbed the top job back from Payne and now he appears to be getting more help.
The best known hire is Zhang, an experienced techie (Microsoft, Zillow) who founded a mobile recommendation app called Alike that was bought by Yahoo in 2013. (She also was targeted, unfairly, in a high-profile lawsuit while at Yahoo.)
Tinder definitely needs more management oomph, given the continuing popularity of the app that the company says makes 26 million matches daily. Despite that, controversial issues (such as a sexual harassment lawsuit involving top execs and some ill-advised interviews by Rad) and simple block-and-tackle management stumbles have hindered even greater success, said several sources.
Well, now it has a whole bunch of them to make it so.
Tinder is part of the Match Group, which spun out of IAC (though it is largely still owned by it). Its stock is down 27 percent since it had an IPO in November.