Bumble founder Whitney Wolfe Herd is stepping down as CEO after nearly a decade at the helm of the dating app company.
Effective Jan. 2, Wolfe Herd will be succeeded by Lidiane Jones, a longtime technology executive who has served since December as CEO of workplace communication service Slack, Bumble confirmed in a statement Monday. Wolfe Herd will remain at Bumble as executive chairman.
“This move to Executive Chairman empowers me to move into a new and exciting role, return to my founding roots and bring greater motivation and focus to this next chapter of growth,” Wolfe Herd said in a statement, adding. and Jones will be “excellent partners.”
The leadership change was first reported by the Wall Street Journal.
Wolfe Herd began his career at rival dating service Tinder, which he co-founded. But she left in 2014 and filed a sexual harassment and discrimination lawsuit against the company, which was eventually settled.
She then launched Bumble based on the idea that giving women the opportunity to take the first step on a dating app would empower them to take control of their romantic lives. Wolfe Herd founded Bumble with the help of Andrey Andreev, the former owner of the dating app Badoo; in 2019, he became the head of the combined company after Andreev was accused of racism and sexism.
Today, Bumble is the parent company of four apps – Bumble, Official, Badoo and Fruitz – and the Bumble app has expanded to include features to help people find friends and make professional connections. The company has more than 3.6 million paying users across its apps, according to its latest earnings report.
When Bumble made its initial public offering in 2021, Wolfe Herd, then 31 years old, became one of the world’s youngest female self-made billionaires.
But since then, the company’s price has been established. Shares of Bumble (BMBL) opened trading at $76 on the day of its IPO but now trade below $14, a drop of more than 80%. The company’s stock fell another 8% on Monday following news of Wolfe Herd’s departure as CEO.
Bumble is expected to report earnings for the quarter that ended in September on Tuesday. Wall Street analysts expect the company’s sales to grow 19% from the year-ago quarter to $276.9 million, but profits are expected to decline 31% year over year, according to Refinitiv estimates.
Jones will take control of Bumble at a time when analysts worry that an uncertain economic climate could make consumers less likely to sign up for the dating app and as continued inflation weighs on the earnings of many tech companies. Shares in Match Group, Bumble’s rival and parent company Tinder, fell last week after the company said in its September quarter earnings report that the number of its paying customers fell 5% year over year. Bumble’s stock also took a hit on the news of Match’s earnings report.
Before taking over as CEO of Slack late last year, Jones spent four years in various senior roles at Slack’s parent company Salesforce, most recently as senior vice president of digital experience. Prior to Salesforce, Jones was vice president of software product management at speaker company Sonos and spent 12 years at Microsoft. Jones will remain at Slack until the end of this year.
“As a woman who has spent her career in technology, it’s a gift to lean on my experience to lead a company dedicated to women and promoting equality, integrity and kindness, all of which are deeply and inspiring to me,” Jones said in a statement about joining Bumble.