Airbnb is losing a top executive ahead of its expected public trading debut next year, the company announced on Friday.
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Belinda Johnson told employees on Friday that she is stepping down as chief operating officer, effective March 1, according to CNBC, which first reported the news, citing an internal email. In the email, Johnson said she needs to prioritize more time to spend with her family; she said the job often consumed too much of her time and caused her to miss out on important moments with her children.
“As I was watching her I realized, she’s not a child anymore, she’s a young woman,” Johnson wrote. “When did that happen? I can never get back the missed birthday parties and the school plays where my husband saved a seat that remained empty, and the time a dragonfly landed on her cheek and didn’t fly away. I’ve seen a picture of it, but I wasn’t there."
"She will be gone to college in less than a year. Her younger sibling is fourteen. This will happen again in three years. I want those years. I want to be there when the dragonfly lands on her cheek and doesn’t fly away. That is the urgency I feel now when I wake up in the middle of the night," she added.
When Johnson officially steps down, she will join the home-sharing startup's board of directors, CEO and founder Brian Chesky said.
"Though we intend for her to serve on our board for a long time to come, I have told Belinda that she can return to Airbnb as an executive if she ever wishes to do so," he said in a statement.
Johnson has effectively served as Chesky's No. 2 for the past eight years (she's been compared to Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg). She previously served as chief business affairs and legal officer.
Airbnb, which already has substantial funding, is shaping up to be one of the most anticipated IPOs in 2020.
Airbnb was launched in 2008 and has raised a total of $4.4 billion across 15 venture capital funding rounds, according to Crunchbase, giving it a valuation of $35 billion