Moz co-founder, Rand Fishkin, went public today on his blog with his decision to step down as CEO.
Fishkin will be switching roles with current COO, Sarah Bird, who will become the new CEO of Moz. Fishkin cites his decision to step down being made as a result of wanting to focus on areas he’s more comfortable with, such as product marketing, and focus less on people managing.
Fishkin also notes that the past year has been particularly difficult for him, which he believes is due to less-than-ideal business results and challenges that come with scaling as Moz has grown to over 135 employees.
The change in roles has not yet been finalized since it still needs to be discussed by the Moz board, but it could come into effect as early as January 2014. Fishkin was careful to reassure Moz stakeholders that he intends to remain with the company for a long time to come. Moz’s mission and values will not change with Sarah Bird as CEO, states Fishkin.
My role will actually be very similar. I’ll likely be spending more time in the weeds with product design, marketing initiatives, and evangelism (blogging/speaking). I’ll continue to represent Moz externally quite a bit. But I won’t be doing much people managing (only Nicci will continue to report to me), work on our finances, organizational development stuff, or recruiting/hiring of senior staff. I’ve also promised to write a book next year on startup marketing!
I want to change my title to “individual contributor.” Mostly because it reflects my belief that you don’t need to manage people in order to have influence, I love and want to promote the IC track/concept, and that titles are kinda BS.
I will continue to be on the team and on the board of directors, representing internal shareholders (like y’all).
Fishkin also mentioned that while he hoped for a public offering for Moz someday, he “never wants to be a CEO of a public company” and that being able to step aside before an IPO was an advantage.
You can read Fishkin’s full statement, including an e-mail sent out to Moz employees, on his blog.