Newly private photo personalization leader Shutterfly Inc. named a new CEO last week, a move that surprised many industry watchers. Ryan O’Hara had only come on board in June, 2019, succeeding in an orderly manner the departing Christopher North. North’s departure was announced in February, and the company had three months of transition to O’Hara, during which the company announced plans to go private.
Tech executive Hilary Schneider, CEO of dog-walking startup Wag! , was named O’Hara’s successor, in a surprise announcement, considering O’Hara’s brief tenure and the timing during the vital fourth-quarter season. Perhaps O’Hara’s role was a transitional one, until the right long-term executive could be found? That’s certainly a possibility but considering North was staying around to help with the transition, that seems unlikely.
By the way, we speculated back in May, 2019: “The next CEO will be a woman with a marketing background. North is a spreadsheet and process guy and now that that house is in order, it’s time to get back to marketing.”
Interestingly, a former longtime Shutterfly CEO, Jeff Housenbold, has a connection to Schneider’s previous employer. Housenbold, a managing partner of Softbank Investment Advisers, was named the chairman of the board after Softbank invested $300 million in Wag! and Schneider was hired as CEO of the dog-walking startup. Previously, she served as CEO of Lifelock, joining the company before it went public and served through LifeLock’s sale to Symantec for $2.3 billion in March 2017. Prior to LifeLock, she was executive vice president of Yahoo! Americas and executive vice president of Knight Ridder.