What will a new CEO’s Facebook experience bring to Instacart?
Instacart surprised many with its announcement that Fidji Simok, who formerly headed the core Facebook app, would replace co-founder Apoorva Mehta as CEO.
Ms. Simo, 35, will take over, effective August 2, following a transformational year during which Instacart experienced exponential growth as grocery delivery took off during the pandemic. The gig-economy platform significantly diversified by on-boarding a wide variety of retailers, such as 7-Eleven, and non-grocers, including Best Buy, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Sephora and Staples.
Instacart made high-profile hires from Amazon.com and Google to drive its advertising business, which debuted in 2019 and brought in $1.5 billion in revenues last year.
The company continues to face scrutiny, however, over its treatment of the shoppers who pick and deliver orders. Reports also arrived last year detailing retailer complaints over Instacart’s high commission fees, control over customer interactions and cannibalization of the grocers’ own co–op programs from Instacart’s advertising.
Ms. Simo, who is French, is expected to particularly support that advertising push that a Wall Street Journal article posited will be critical to the profitable growth of food delivery companies.
At Facebook for more than a decade, she started working on advertising products for the News Feed before running Facebook Live, helping launch the social media site’s video ads and launching Facebook Watch. She was appointed to lead Facebook’s core social network in March 2019.
Ms. Simo, who joined Instacart’s board seven months ago, said in a statement that Instacart has transformed people’s relationship with food.
“[People will] expect a more convenient experience, the widest selection of food at their fingertips, faster delivery times, increased personalization, and more inspiration,” she said. “Instacart has an opportunity to deliver all of that for customers, while also becoming an even stronger ally and growth accelerator for retailers and advertisers, and helping create economic opportunities for hundreds of thousands of shoppers.”
Mr. Mehta will relinquish the CEO role ahead of a hotly-anticipated initial public offering later this year.
“Fidji will simply be a better CEO than me for Instacart’s coming years,” he wrote in a blog entry to Instacart partners. He added that as executive chairman he would continue to be “very engaged day-to-day and to partner with Fidji to shape our long-term vision.”
- Instacart Appoints Board Member Fidji Simo to Chief Executive Officer and Announces Founder and Current CEO Apoorva Mehta Will Serve as Executive Chairman of the Board – Instacart
- A Letter From Instacart Founder Apoorva Mehta – Instacart
- Instacart Wants to Be an Influencer in Food Delivery – The Wall Street Journal
- Instacart hires Facebook executive as new CEO ahead of expected IPO – Techcrunch
- Instacart replaces founder as CEO with Facebook exec ahead of expected IPO – MarketWatch
- Instacart taps Facebook’s Fidji Simo as new CEO ahead of planned IPO – Los Angeles Times
- Should retailers just say ‘no’ to Instacart? – RetailWire
- Is it time for retailers to reconsider Instacart? – RetailWire
- Has the pandemic proven Instacart’s business model? – RetailWire
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: What assets do you expect Fidji Simok to bring with her from Facebook? Do you agree that advertising will be critical to supporting profitable growth for Instacart?