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Hootsuite co-founder Ryan Holmes steps down as chairman

Holmes will continue serving on board as a director
Hootsuite co-founder Ryan Holmes will continue serving on the Vancouver tech company's board as a director | Submitted

Hootsuite Inc. is shaking up its boardroom, with co-founder Ryan Holmes stepping down as executive chairman and new directors joining.

The Vancouver-based social media management company announced Tuesday it was appointing Julie Herendeen as its chairwoman while Holmes would continue serving on the board as a director.

Herendeen previously served as the global head of enterprise marketing at Uber Technologies Inc. (NYSE:UBER) and the chief marketing officer of PagerDuty Inc. (NYSE:PD). She currently sits on the board of software firm HubSpot Inc. (Nasdaq:HUBS).

When contacted by BIV about Holmes’ decision to step back as executive chairman, Hootsuite spokeswoman Melanie Gaboriault said the company believes “having an independent chair makes sense as a matter of good governance. The changes also allow us to benefit from Ryan’s long experience in the field.”

The company has long been the subject of speculation over an initial public offering and a recent report from the Globe and Mail indicated such efforts were intensifying.

The boardroom will also see the addition of Christiane Pendarvis, chief marketing officer at Savage x Fenty (Lavendar Lingerie LLC), the lingerie brand of music superstar Rihanna; Dave Singh, chief financial officer at Tucows Inc. (TSX:TC) and the former CFO of Vancouver telecom giant Telus Corp. (TSX:T); and venture capitalist Carl Sparks, a managing partner at Interlock Partners and a director at four other firms.

In addition to Holmes and Herendeen, they’ll be joined on the board by current directors Tom Keiser, CEO of Hootsuite, and venture capitalist Jeff Lieberman, a managing director at Insights Partners.

Meanwhile, Vancouver’s Shahrzad Rafati, CEO of BroadbandTV Corp., and Sara Clemens, chief operating officer at Twitch Interactive Inc., have departed the board amid the changes.

“These new board appointments are an important step forward for Hootsuite as we transition from an investor board to an independent board,” Keiser said in a statement.

“We have an incredible mix of talented leaders guiding our company and I’m honoured to welcome our newest board members to the team.”

Holmes revealed almost exactly two years ago he would be stepping down as the company’s founding CEO and taking on the newly created role of executive chairman. He said at the time he wished to spend more time with his family.

San Francisco-based Keiser was hired as CEO in June 2020.

The local tech company ran afoul of some of its own employees months later when it agreed to provide services to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). The American agency has been the subject of intense criticism over policies separating migrant parents from their children at the U.S.-Mexican border.

The company eventually committed to backing out of providing such services to ICE.

Hootsuite most recently added to its C-suite by hiring Boston-based Tiziana Figliolia as its CFO following a 19-month vacancy in the post.

The company also hired American Maggie Lower over this past summer to serve as chief marketing officer. She is based in Chicago.

With chief technology officer Ryan Donovan in Seattle and chief revenue officer Melissa Murray Bailey in New York, the highest-ranking member of Hootsuite’s C-suite who is based in Canada is chief people officer Tara Ataya.

The company, which employs about 1,200 people globally, also announced Tuesday it was opening a new office in Atlanta with plans to hire more than 60 workers by the end of 2022.

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