Last week, Airbnb CEO and Head of Community Brian Chesky outlined our plans and the first steps we are taking to build Airbnb into a 21st century company, one that has an infinite time horizon and is focused on serving all stakeholders in pursuit of our vision. In making the announcement, Brian announced that Airbnb will issue an annual Stakeholder letter and named outgoing American Express CEO Ken Chenault as the first unaffiliated independent member of our Board of Directors. Ken will specifically be supporting the company’s efforts to build a trust based community platform.
As the next step in our work, today, Airbnb announced the elevation of Belinda Johnson to the position of Airbnb Chief Operating Officer. As COO, she will develop and lead the programs and processes that will distinguish Airbnb as a 21st Century Company and deliver uniquely against our mission.
Airbnb announced that Chief Financial Officer Laurence Tosi has decided to dedicate his full time and energy to his investment fund, Weston Capital Partners, and dedicate time to the several external boards he currently sits on and will be leaving Airbnb.
Airbnb CEO and Head of Community Brian Chesky said:
“The COO is one of the most critical positions in any company. Before the holidays, I made a decision about who was right for this role and I’m incredibly excited to announce that we have appointed Belinda Johnson to be our COO.
Belinda has a track record of making Airbnb run better. She designed and scaled our Policy and Legal teams from just one employee to the world-class functions they are today. She takes critical functions that might be seen as constraints in other companies, and clears a path so they can become competitive advantages and facilitate the growth of the business. Belinda also optimizes for all stakeholders. She fiercely protects our culture and she has defined the way we partner with community leaders and policymakers around the world. We’re a better company because of Belinda’s leadership.
As our COO, Belinda will be responsible for the systems and teams that enable our businesses to function, as well as our legal, policy and communications teams. Belinda will also be a partner to me. Belinda and I often approach things differently, and this is one of the reasons we’ve worked so well together over the years. I learn from her every day, and I’m a better leader because she is my partner.
I know people will ask what these changes mean for a potential IPO. Let me address this directly. We are not going public in 2018. Our primary focus is becoming a 21st-century company and advancing our mission. We’re working on getting ready to go public and we will make decisions about going public on our own timetable.
Finally, I want to thank LT for his tireless work on behalf of Airbnb and our community. He helped Airbnb establish a rigorous financial discipline, aided our expansion into new businesses including into luxury rentals, which is now one of our core businesses, and helped us develop new and innovative ways to grow Airbnb and our businesses. Today, the company is one of the world’s fastest growing at our scale and is profitable, as measured by EBITDA, and cash flow positive with a $5.5B balance sheet and we continue to see material growth momentum in markets around the world. I want to personally thank LT for his leadership, creativity and lasting contributions to Airbnb.”
Incoming COO Belinda Johnson added:
“From my first day at Airbnb, I have been inspired by our community and I’m honored to have this new role. As COO, it’s my job to bring the businesses, enabling teams and functions together so that the company is well run and our four businesses are set up to succeed. We want to be the world’s most innovative and most trusted travel company and to get there, we need to scale our operations and build for the long haul. As Brian has said, we are a company with an infinite time horizon, and I will work to ensure everything we do takes the long view.”
L.T. thanked his Airbnb colleagues and said:
“The two and half years I’ve spent at Airbnb have been some of the most thrilling of my career. We achieved much of what I set out to accomplish when I joined. Working together with my colleagues, we have achieved incredible success: today, Airbnb is profitable, and continues to have tremendous growth opportunities in markets around the world. Our CX platform now reaches record levels of community members at the highest satisfaction levels in our history and some of the best in the industry. In payments, we continued to be the market leader in innovating new features and global processing scale. While the time is right for me to build my own business, I will miss working with the top tier teams we have assembled and am confident that they will continue to create value for Airbnb and our community.”
Airbnb’s Board of Directors also issued a joint statement saying:
“We wholeheartedly endorse Belinda Johnson becoming COO of Airbnb and thank LT for all of his contributions. With the company’s continued strong performance, Belinda is the perfect choice to help Airbnb scale its operations and systems as it moves forward to becoming the world’s most trusted end to end travel platform. As COO, she will be the catalyst we need for our innovation and execution. We are confident these management changes will help us achieve our aspirations to become an enduring 21st century company.”