Airbnb delays IPO and makes leadership changes

The home rental company announces a departing CFO, and new COO and no plans for an IPO this year

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Airbnb has announced that an IPO will not be happening this year, and the company’s CFO and former Wall Street executive Laurence Tosi is stepping down from his position. In the end, Tosi and Airbnb founder Brian Chesky simply wanted different things.

Tosi was previously CFO at Blackstone Group before joining Airbnb in 2015. The Wall Street executive didn’t fit Airbnb’s progressive “world-changing” culture, according to information gathered by Bloomberg reporters; he was more focused on cost cutting and looking for businesses that could increase company revenue.

Chesky thanked Tosi in a press statement for what he had achieved in his two and a half years at the company:

“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,” he said.

“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 $5.5 billion balance sheet, and we continue to see material growth momentum in markets around the world. I want to personally thank LT [Laurence Tosi] for his leadership, creativity and lasting contributions to Airbnb.”

Meanwhile, fintech markets were no doubt disappointed to hear that the founder and CEO was not planning an IPO in 2018 as hoped. The 2008 startup is now said to be valued at $31 billion.

“We are not going public in 2018,” Chemsky said. “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.”

The company is searching for a CFO to replace Tosi, who according to the company, is planning to spend more time with his personal investment fund, Weston Capital Partners.

Chesky also announced that chief of business affairs and legal officer Belinda Johnson has been promoted to chief operating officer — a position Tosi was rumored to have had his eye on as he wanted more control at Airbnb, according to reports from Bloomberg.

“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,” Chesky said in a company announcement. “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,” Chesky said.

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