Excerpt from Fortune
In an executive shakeup, Airbnb Thursday said that its CFO, Laurence L.T. Tosi will be leaving the company and that CEO Brian Chesky’s longtime deputy, chief business affairs and legal officer Belinda Johnson, would be elevated to the new role of COO. The company also said it is not going public in 2018.
The Tosi news was sudden and unexpected, despite recent reports of tensions between him and Chesky; the news about Johnson is not likely to surprise anyone familiar with her prominent role and reputation within the company.
Tosi joined Airbnb in 2015 from Blackstone, where he had been CFO since 2008. With Blackstone the largest private real estate investor in the world, and having just come off its buyout and subsequent IPO of Hilton, Tosi had unique real estate and hospitality industry experience and was expected to lead the company to its IPO. He also had a top flight Wall Street reputation: In 2011, he had reportedly been approached by Steve Jobs for the CFO role at Apple but turned it down, according to Bloomberg; he was at one point named as a possible successor to Stephen Schwarzman.
But tensions between Tosi and Chesky had recently escalated, due in part to Tosi’s wanting more responsibilities. According to an in-depth report from The Information,he was seeking to become either COO or president of the company’s core homes division. The report also said the two clashed over some of Chesky’s bold ideas—to expand into flights, for one, and other new initiatives that required a longer-term path to profitability. A source familiar with the company said the two had a “difference in philosophy” over how to manage Airbnb’s growth.
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