- Shopify has seen significant turnover in its C-suite in the past 18 months.
- Its latest changes are in the roles of CFO and chief operating officer.
- Here are the people leading the e-commerce company through its next phase.
When Shopify announced in early September that its chief financial officer and chief operating officer would depart, it was only the latest sign of changes at the e-commerce company.
As Shopify’s earnings have disappointed investors and sent its stock plummeting, the company has seen dramatic executive turnover. Like other e-commerce companies, Shopify has had to adjust after miscalculating the long-term effect that the coronavirus pandemic would have on the industry. With the latest changes to its executive ranks, Shopify will have replaced almost its entire C-suite in the past year and a half.
Now it finds itself at an inflection point.
Andrew Bauch, a senior equity research analyst at SMBC, told Insider the company needed to “find its footing, with stable results, better visibility on where expectations may be going in the quarters ahead, a more firm commitment to profitability than they maybe had in quarters past.”
Analysts say the turnover signals that Shopify has moved on from its startup days and a new set of leaders could help it move into the next phase. Company leaders frequently refer to their desire to have Shopify be a 100-year company.
“Shopify has become a much more difficult company to articulate,” Shopify’s president, Harley Finkelstein, said during a discussion at Goldman Sachs’ 29th Annual Global Retailing Conference earlier in September. “More and more, we are taking on a larger piece of the needs of the businesses and brands on our platform.”
“We have millions of merchants, where we’re powering 10% of all e-commerce in the US — in some countries even more than that,” he added. “We want to always make sure that we’re set up to execute on that ambition.”
Here’s who’s on Shopify’s leadership team now:
Tobi Lütke, founder and CEO
Lütke built Snowdevil, an online store for snowboards, in 2004. But after concluding that tools for online selling were lacking, he decided to build a new e-commerce platform, which would become Shopify. He, along with Daniel Weinand and Scott Lake, launched Shopify in 2006.
Lütke has been Shopify’s CEO since 2008. Previously, he was the company’s chief technology officer. He is the only Shopify founder who remains with the company.
Internally at Shopify, Lütke is known for being deeply involved with day-to-day product decisions. After the chief product officer Craig Miller departed Shopify in the fall of 2020, the company opted not to replace him and instead have Lütke take on some of Miller’s responsibilities.
In 2021, a leaked email he had sent to Shopify managers the year before went viral. In it, he said employees should think of themselves as a sports team, not a family, a point of view that sparked debate in many professional circles.
Shopify’s shareholders recently approved a special “founder share” for Lütke, cementing his control over the company.
Lütke is respected in the tech community. He is also known for being an early user of the Ruby on Rails framework.
Harley Finkelstein, president
Finkelstein has been with Shopify since 2010. He was previously its chief operating officer.
As president, he leads Shopify’s commercial and growth teams and oversees external affairs.
Finkelstein frequently appears in the media to promote Shopify’s message of empowering entrepreneurs.
He’s an entrepreneur, with a direct-to-consumer tea brand called Firebelly Tea that he founded with David Segal, formerly of DavidsTea.
Jeff Hoffmeister, CFO
Hoffmeister is replacing Amy Shapero, who has been Shopify’s CFO since April 2018. Shapero is expected to step down after Shopify’s third-quarter earnings call on October 27.
Hoffmeister spent more than 20 years in the tech-investment-banking group at Morgan Stanley. He helped lead Shopify’s 2015 initial public offering, in addition to transactions and public debuts for many other tech companies.
Analysts have speculated that Hoffmeister’s hiring is a sign Shopify will be ramping up its M&A activity.
“When you see a company hire someone who’s got 20 years of investment-banking experience in the tech sector, it suggests to me that that’s a person who could lead the charge on a new strategy involving a lot more M&A than what they’ve done historically,” Tom Forte, a managing director and senior research analyst at D.A. Davidson, told Insider.
Kaz Nejatian, COO
Nejatian was promoted to chief operating officer after two years serving as a vice president of product for Shopify’s merchant-services team. He’s taking on the role previously held by Toby Shannan, who is retiring after more than 12 years with the company. Shannan is set to serve as a special advisor to Shopify through the end of the year before joining the company’s board of directors.
Nejatian’s work at Shopify has focused on products like point-of-sale, shipping, and financial services.
Those products are an increasingly important driver of revenue for Shopify. In the most recent quarter, Merchant Solutions’ revenue grew 18% year over year, to $928.6 million. Its Subscription Solutions revenue, or the money that Shopify makes from merchants paying a monthly fee to host their storefronts, grew 10% to $366.4 million.
Elevating Nejatian to COO could signal that Shopify will be prioritizing that side of its business more than its core storefront software.
Allan Leinwand, CTO
Leinwand joined Shopify in October 2021 to fill a vacancy left by the former longtime chief technology officer Jean-Michel Lemieux. Leinwand was previously senior vice president of engineering at Slack, and before that he was CTO at ServiceNow.
He also spent seven years as a venture-capital investor and cofounded a handful of tech startups.
Leinwand’s new job is to lead the engineering teams that build Shopify’s infrastructure and ensure that merchants have the tools they need to build their e-commerce businesses.
His role includes ensuring all of the platform’s systems are stable during periods of high traffic — Shopify merchants generated a record $6.3 billion in sales from Black Friday to Cyber Monday in 2021.
Jess Hertz, general counsel
Hertz has led Shopify’s global legal team since October 2021.
Hertz was previously a deputy assistant to the president and staff secretary to President Joe Biden, and she also served as general counsel for Biden’s transition team.
Before that, she spent two years at Facebook. Her work there included leading the company’s North American regulatory team. At the time, Hertz’s hiring by the Biden administration caused controversy among some who speculated that her background could cause a conflict of interest amid government scrutiny of the tech industry.
Shopify’s legal department has seen some turnover in recent years. Before Hertz’s hiring, Joe Frasca was Shopify’s chief legal officer. Erin Zipes and Vivek Narayanadas were tasked with leading the company’s legal department after Frasca’s August 2021 departure, but both have since left the company.
Tia Silas, chief talent officer
Silas joined Shopify as chief talent officer in April. Her hiring was announced amid an overhaul of Shopify’s compensation structure, which was designed to give employees more flexibility over how much of their pay would come in stock. The overhaul came in response to growing employee concerns about Shopify’s falling stock price and its impact on their compensation. The new system officially rolled out in September, after being delayed two months.
Before joining Shopify, Silas was executive vice president of human resources at Wells Fargo. She was previously the chief diversity and inclusion officer at IBM and also held leadership roles at Pitney Bowes.
Silas filled a vacancy left by Brittany Forsyth, who departed Shopify in May 2021 after joining the company as its 22nd employee in 2010.
John Asante, chief information-security officer
Asante joined Shopify to become its chief information-security officer in August 2021.
In that role, he leads the company’s Trust division, which works on issues related to cybersecurity, fraud, abuse, and privacy. Asante is the first to hold this position at Shopify.
Before joining Shopify, Asante spent more than four years at Google and four years at Visa, where he worked in similar functions.
Glen Coates, vice president of product
Coates joined Shopify in May 2019, when the company acquired Handshake, a mobile sales and B2B e-commerce startup that he cofounded.
These days, he leads teams working on Shopify’s core products: its storefront, payment processor, backend, and shipping and marketing platforms.
He has been in the vice-president role since October 2020 and was previously a director of product.
Luc Levesque, chief growth officer
Levesque was promoted to chief growth officer in September. He previously held the title of vice president of growth.
Shopify’s growth organization is responsible for global advertising campaigns and other initiatives meant to bring awareness of the company’s products and services to the world’s entrepreneurs.
Levesque is an entrepreneur — he founded the travel-blogging platform TravelPod when he was 21 and later sold it to Expedia in 2001.
Levesque held growth leadership roles at Facebook and Tripadvisor before joining Shopify in early 2020. He also advised companies including Pinterest, Twitter, and Patreon on their growth strategies.
Bobby Morrison, chief revenue officer
Morrison joined Shopify as chief revenue officer — a new role for Shopify, reporting to the COO — in August.
He was previously the chief sales officer at Intuit. Before that, he was a vice president at Microsoft, where he was responsible for growing revenue for its small, medium, and corporate segments. He also spent 19 years in various roles at Verizon.