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Bumble founder Whitney Wolfe Herd steps down as CEO. She’ll be replaced by Slack’s leader

By Clare Duffy, CNN

New York (CNN) — Bumble founder Whitney Wolfe Herd is stepping down as chief executive after nearly a decade running the dating app company.

Starting on January 2, Wolfe Herd will be succeeded by Lidiane Jones, a longtime tech executive who has been serving since December as the CEO of the workplace communication service Slack, Bumble confirmed in a securities filing Monday. Wolfe Herd will remain at Bumble as executive chair.

“This move to Executive Chair gives me the ability to step forward into a new and exciting role, get back to my founder roots and bring immense passion and focus to this next chapter of growth,” Wolfe Herd said in a statement, adding that she and Jones would be “fantastic partners.”

The leadership transition was first reported by the Wall Street Journal.

Wolfe Herd started her career at rival dating service Tinder, which she co-founded. But she left in 2014 and filed a lawsuit against the company alleging sexual harassment and discrimination, which was eventually settled.

She then launched Bumble based on the idea that giving women the chance to make the first move on a dating app would empower them with more control over their romantic lives. Wolfe Herd founded Bumble with the help of Andrey Andreev, the former owner of the dating app Badoo; in 2019, she became 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 professional connections. The company has more than 3.6 million paying users across its apps, according to its most recent earnings report.

When Bumble made its initial public offering in 2021, Wolfe Herd, then 31, became one of the world’s youngest self-made female billionaires.

But since then, the company’s share price has foundered. Bumble (BMBL) shares opened trading at $76 dollars on the day of its IPO but are now trading below $14, a more than 80% decline. The company’s stock fell an another 8% on Monday following news of Wolfe Herd’s departure from the CEO role.

Bumble is set to report earnings for the quarter ended in September on Tuesday. Wall Street analysts expect the company’s sales to grow 19% from the year-ago quarter to to $276.9 million, but profits are projected to fall by 31% year-over-year, according to Refinitiv estimates.

Jones will take control of Bumble at a time when analysts are concerned that the uncertain economic environment could make consumers less likely to shell out for dating app subscriptions and as persistent inflation weighs on many tech companies’ earnings. Shares of Match Group, the Bumble competitor and Tinder parent company, tumbled last week after the company said in its earnings report for the September quarter that its number of paying customers had declined by 5% year-over-year. Bumble’s stock also dipped on news of Match’s earnings report.

Before taking over as CEO of Slack late last year, Jones spent four years in various executive roles at Slack parent company Salesforce, most recently as executive vice president of digital experiences. Prior to Salesforce, Jones was the vice president of software product management at speaker company Sonos and spent 12 years at Microsoft. Jones will remain at Slack through 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 encouraging equality, integrity and kindness, all deeply personal and inspiring to me,” Jones said in a statement about joining Bumble.

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