As of this morning, Blue Apron, the troubled meal-kit company, has a new CEO

Her name is Linda Kozlowski, and she was most recently the chief operating officer at Etsy. She takes over for Bradley Dickerson, who became CEO in November 2017, and who in turn replaced the company's founding CEO, Matt Salzberg. 

Quick recap: Salzberg and two co-founders launched Blue Apron in 2012, and grew it to a $2.2 billion valuation before going public in July 2017--just as Amazon bought Whole Foods. Soon, Blue Apron's stock tanked.

As of the weekend, its market capitalization was $210 million, so less than a tenth of its supposed value two years ago. And it went from a peak of 1 million customers in March 2017 to just 557,000 as of December 31.

Into this steps Kozlowski. So, what are her odds of success? 

Laura Forman, writing at The Wall Street Journal, opines that the long odds might be exactly why a woman got the job.

She calls it an example of "the Glass Cliff" -- a situation in which women executives are brought in as CEOs, but only because the company appears to be on its last legs.

For as she points out, there aren't that many opportunities for women to become CEOs to begin with. Among the 500 largest public companies, only 24 are run by women. 

Now, Blue Apron isn't exactly a Fortune 500 company. And, after stints at Etsy, Evernote, Alibaba, this will be Kozlowski's first time as a CEO.

But, it's worth noting that her time at Etsy, the e-commerce site focused on crafts and handmade artistic goods, might bring with it an unusual advantage.

Kozlowski joined Etsy in May 2016. A year later, the company fired its CEO, brought in an outsider, and turned around a struggling performance.

In May 2017 when all that happened, its stock was about $11 a share; last Friday it was at $68. (Its main strategy was to shift the focus from the artists to the customers.)  

We'll soon find out if what Kozlowski learned during that experience can pay off for Blue Apron.

It would appear she's betting that it will: her salary for 2019 is $250,000, which is only half what Dickerson takes home (he's staying on as an adviser), according to the Journal. Her real upside seems to start with "$3 million in stock awards."

For that to work out, it would appear the company would have to survive--and even thrive.

Here's what else I'm reading today:

Published on: Apr 8, 2019
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