Snapchat shares tumble after CFO exit

By Ellen Daniel

Snap’s shares fell by almost 14% following the news that Snapchat CFO Tim Stone is leaving after being with the company for just eight months. The parent company of picture messaging app Snapchat has had several executives leave in the last 12 months amidst the company’s growing misfortunes.

Stone, who is also the company’s principal financial officer, is resigning “to pursue other opportunities”, according to a memo to the company from CEO Evan Spiegel.

Although the memo said that “Tim’s transition is not related to any disagreement with us on any matter relating to our accounting, strategy, management, operations, policies, regulatory matters, or practices (financial or otherwise)”, some have speculated that his exit was due to a disagreement with Spiegel, with the Financial Times reporting that the two had had a “personality clash”.

The departure of the Snapchat CFO is the latest in a series of senior staff departures after head of content Nick Bell left the company in November, and chief strategy officer Imran Khan who left in September.

Stone, the former vice president of Amazon, reportedly walked away from $20m in stock options, suggesting the company’s executives are not confident in its ability to make a comeback after shares hit an all-time low.

Stone will remain at Snap to help with the transition, including through the fourth quarter and full year earnings call on 5 February.

An unpopular update at the start of 2018 has seen Snapchat decline in popularity. The company, which went public at $17 a share in 2017, has faced increasing competition from Facebook-owned Instagram, which launched its ‘Stories’ feature in 2016.

Although still popular with the under-24 demographic, in October the company reported a two million decline in the number of daily users, which fell from 188 million to 186 million. Instagram Stories, on the other hand, has 400 million daily users.

Despite launching new features such as Visual Search and moves to step up is original TV content, the once widely popular app is now struggling to keep up with the likes of Instagram and TikTok.

The company’s shares have fallen by 50% in the last six months with its value plummeting from $31bn in March 2017 to $8bn today.

In more positive news for the company, Snap said in its SEC filing that it expected its quarterly revenue, due to be published in February, to be “slightly favourable to the top end of our previously reported quarterly guidance ranges”.