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爱彼迎动荡内幕:CFO走人,新来COO

Leigh Gallagher 2018年02月28日

托西离职的消息很突然而且让人吃惊,而熟悉约翰逊在爱彼迎的角色和重要性的人对其升职应该不会意外。

2016年7月12日,《财富》2016年头脑风暴科技大会:阿斯彭, 科罗拉多州。爱彼迎首席执行官布莱恩·切斯基,首席商务和法律官贝琳达·约翰逊。采访者:《财富》杂志安德鲁·努斯卡 Photograph by Kevin Moloney — Fortune Brainstorm TECH 

经历了高层动荡后,不久前爱彼迎宣布首席财务官劳伦斯·“L.T.”·托西将离职,长期任首席执行官布莱恩·切斯基副手的贝琳达·约翰逊将升任首席运营官。爱彼迎还宣布2018年不会上市。

托西离职的消息很突然而且让人吃惊;熟悉约翰逊在爱彼迎的角色和重要性的人对其升职应该不会意外。

托西于2015年加入爱彼迎,之前在黑石公司工作,从2008年开始担任首席财务官。黑石是全世界最大的私营地产投资公司,刚完成收购和推动希尔顿上市,所以托西积累了丰富的地产和酒店行业经验。他在华尔街名气很大,彭博报道称2011年史蒂夫·乔布斯曾找他出任苹果公司首席财务官,但他拒绝了。还曾有消息称他会成为黑石创始人史蒂芬·施瓦茨曼继任者。

但最近托西跟切斯基之间关系越发紧张,主要因为托西希望扩大职权。根据科技媒体The Information一篇深度报道,托西想担任首席运营官或核心业务民居部门总裁。报道还称二人对切斯基一些大胆想法存在异议,例如将业务拓展到航空领域,还有一些需要较长时间才能盈利的业务。一位熟悉该公司的人士表示,两人对爱彼迎将来如何发展“理念不一致”。

托西在一份声明中表示,“在爱彼迎期间是我职业生涯中最兴奋的两年半”,还表示“虽然我要离开去追求自己的事业,但我会怀念在爱彼迎打造的顶尖团队,而且非常相信团队会继续为爱彼迎和社区创造价值。”

就公司上市计划发布的专门声明中,切斯基表示今年不会启动。“我知道人们会问,出现人事变动是不是意味着离上市不远,”他表示,“我来明确回答一下,2018年不会上市。”切斯基一直坚称公司会按照自己的节奏执行上市计划,而且不会着急。2017年初,他告诉《财富》杂志上市准备需要两年,当时只进行了“一半”。但他强调说,即便准备就绪也会保持耐心,谨慎选择时机。上周他在一篇博客中阐述了发展愿景,称要将爱彼迎打造为“21世纪伟大公司”,发展前景“无可限量”。

但现在公司连首席财务官也没有。招聘团队寻找接替者期间,担任全球财务计划分析的艾莉·梅尔茨将暂时兼任。

与托西突然离职导致首席财务官空缺不一样,人人都知道爱彼迎缺位首席运营官。了解爱彼迎的人对提升约翰逊应该不会吃惊,毕竟她一直是实权派,也是切斯基最重要也最信任的顾问。(有些人可能会误以为她已经是首席运营官;2015年,切斯基曾宣称约翰逊是他的“代表”;去年科技网站Backchannel发表了一篇深度报道,文中将约翰逊称为爱彼迎的谢丽尔·桑德博格)。

约翰逊2011年就加入了爱彼迎。之前她在雅虎担任法律副总顾问,因1999年雅虎收购马克·古本的在线音乐公司Broadcast.com而入职雅虎。她在Broadcast.com职位是法律总顾问。在雅虎工作十年后,她希望加入一家创业早期、增速极快且直接面对消费者的公司。她是第一位入职爱彼迎的高管,迅速成为切斯基的左右手。2015年她升任首席商务和法律官,权限扩展到城市合作、公共政策、传播、社会和公益活动以及法律业务等。

约翰逊担任首席运营官后,将全面负责公司的新组织架构,目前分为四大部门:民居部;“豪宅”部,即豪华住宿业务;行旅部,2016年末推出的可预订旅行“体验”平台;还有中国业务部。在新岗位上她还将负责“业务运行的系统和团队”,也负责法律、政策和传播事务。

约翰逊很早就建议切斯基在各城市扩张时采取更柔和的手段,与对手竞争时也一样。他迅速成为当时经验尚浅的首席执行官身边重要的参谋,协助规划公司发展,面对各种挑战,包括处理各城市的关系,应对2016年歧视事件之类。公司里她受到一致称赞,因为她处事冷静,情商很高,而且擅长搭建和扩大团队,而且不管面临什么挑战都能做成事情。

“不看好贝琳达·约翰逊的人肯定赚不到钱,”约翰逊前老板古本在回复《财富》的短信中表示。“大部分领导者能计划到第二天,但贝琳达能为下周做好计划并执行。”

但她或许称得上切斯基最赞赏的人,切斯基在公司内部多次表达过对约翰逊的重视。他曾表示招到约翰逊是“最明智一举”,还一再称赞她的眼光比其他人远大。“她高瞻远瞩,能看清业务未来发展方向,”切斯基上次提升她后表示。这次他在擢升约翰逊为首席运营官的声明中表示,“我每天都在向她学习,正因为有她帮助我才能成为更好的领导者。”约翰逊也谦虚地回应了盛赞:“布莱恩非常具有远见卓识,他不仅能看到未来一步、两步,也不是三步,而是能看到未来十步,”她表示。

不过目前他只能多关注眼下了,因为公司急缺三位高管:民居业务方面,切斯基在亲自兼管。去年10月乔纳森·麦登霍尔宣布离职后首席营销官一职空缺。托西离开后,切斯基还得赶紧找一位首席财务官。(财富中文网)

译者:冯丰

审稿:夏林

 

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 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; the news about Johnson likely not surprising to 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. 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.

For his part, Tosi said in a statement that “The two and half years I’ve spent at Airbnb have been some of the most thrilling of my career” and that “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.”

Chesky, in a rare specific statement on the timing of the company’s IPO plans, said in the announcement that it would not take the company public this year. “I know people will ask what these changes mean for a potential IPO,” he said. “Let me address this directly. We are not going public in 2018.” Chesky has always insisted that the company would go public on its own timetable and not for a while; in early 2017, he told Fortunehe saw the process of getting ready for an IPO to be a two-year project and that at the time they were “halfway.” But once ready, he stressed, the company would be patient and deliberate about picking its moment. Last week, he articulated in a blog post his vision to make Airbnb a “21st Century Company,” one with an “infinite time horizon.”

But for now, the company is without a CFO. While a search firm looks for one, duties will fall to Ellie Mertz, the company’s head of global financial planning and analysis.

In contrast to Tosi’s unexpected departure, it was well known the company had been looking for a COO, and the elevation of Johnson should not surprise anyone familiar with the behind-the-scenes leader widely seen as Chesky’s most important and most trusted adviser. (Some may have mistakenly assumed she already was COO; as far back as 2015, he referred to her as his “proxy;” last year, Backchannel published an in-depth profile calling her Airbnb’s Sheryl Sandberg).

Johnson started her tenure at Airbnb in 2011. She came from Yahoo, where she was deputy general counsel, having joined the company with its 1999 acquisition of Broadcast.com, Mark Cuban’s audio streaming company, where she served as general counsel. After more than a decade at Yahoo, she was ready for a change and knew she wanted to join an early-stage, high-growth, consumer-facing company. She became Airbnb’s first executive hire and quickly became indispensable to Chesky. In 2015 she was promoted to Airbnb’s chief business affairs and legal officer, greatly expanding her purview to include civic partnerships, public policy, communication, social and philanthropic initiatives, and legal operations.

In her new role as COO, Johnson assumes oversight of the company’s new organizational structure, which is divided into four business units: Homes; “Lux,” its luxury business; Trips, the platform for bookable “Experiences” launched in late 2016; and China. The role also gives her oversight of the “systems and teams that enable our businesses to function,” as well as legal, policy and communications.

Johnson was credited early on with encouraging Chesky to take a more conciliatory approach with cities and to meet with his opponents. She quickly became a key advisor to the then-still-new CEO, helping him navigate the company’s growth and challenges, including its relationships with cities and crises like the revelations of discrimination on its platform in 2016. She is uniformly praised within the company and by those who know it for her calm demeanor, high EQ, ability to build and scale teams—and a way of getting things done no matter the challenge.

“No one ever got rich betting against Belinda Johnson,” her former boss Cuban told Fortune via text message.”While most leaders might be looking at tomorrow, Belinda’s already planned and built for next week.”

But she is perhaps praised by no one as much as Chesky, who has made it abundantly clear how much he values her role within the company. He has called hiring Johnson “one of the best decisions we ever made” and has repeatedly called out her ability to see the possible where others might not. “At the highest level, she figures out how to enable our business,” he told Fortune at the time of her last promotion. In the statement today, announcing her elevation to COO, he said, “I learn from her every day, and I’m a better leader because she is my partner.” Johnson has returned the accolades: “Brian is this amazing visionary that looks not 1 not 2 not 3 but 10 steps ahead,” she has said.

He may have to focus on the short term for now, as the company has three big executive spots unfilled: Chesky himself is still running the homes business. The CMO spot has been vacant since Jonathan Mildenhall announced his departure last October. And now, with Tosi’s departure, Chesky adds CFO spot to his to-do list.

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