Shares of Blue Apron (NYSE: APRN) jumped today on a surprise management change at the company. CEO Brad Dickerson, who took the helm in December 2017, is out, and Linda Kozlowski, who was previously COO at Etsy, is in. Investors seem hopeful that the move could turn around Blue Apron's dismal performance, as revenue is tumbling and the stock trades at just around $1 today. Shares of Blue Apron were up 9.4% as of 10:53 a.m. EDT to $1.06.
The company said Dickerson was resigning to pursue other opportunities, though it is unclear where he is headed. He will remain with the company in the near term to assist with the transition, and Kozlowski will officially become CEO on April 8. The meal-kit service also said that Co-Founder and Chief Technology Officer Ilia Papas would be leaving the company to pursue other opportunities, but it has a transition plan in place for that position.
Image source: Blue Apron.
Given that Papas and Dickerson are both suddenly leaving the company, the stock's gains today are surprising. But investors seem to be optimistic that Kozlowski can help drive Blue Apron's turnaround given the success that Etsy has had, as that stock has grown more than 700% over the last three years. Prior to joining Etsy, Kozlowski had been the COO at Evernote and a marketing executive at Alibaba.
Chairman Matt Salzberg said: "We are incredibly excited to have an executive of Linda's caliber as Blue Apron's next CEO. Linda's exceptional leadership and marketing expertise, as well as her understanding of Blue Apron customers as a longtime customer herself, will help her advance the company toward sustainable, profitable growth."
Though Blue Apron shares continued to fall under Dickerson's stewardship, he did help the company narrow its losses and reset its strategy to moving toward profitability rather than pursuing unsustainable growth, which the company is delivering on. Blue Apron reaffirmed its guidance to report positive adjusted EBITDA for the first quarter and the full year as well as a significant improvement in net loss. The company will report first-quarter earnings on April 30.
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