A year ago, Instacart co-founder Apoorva Mehta left his role as chief executive of the grocery delivery unicorn and took on an executive chairman position. Now, as the company he started nearly a decade ago prepares to IPO, Mehta says that he will be stepping down as Executive Chairman and transitioning off the board of directors once the company goes public.
“Since I transitioned from CEO to Executive Chairman a year ago, I realized that I want to pursue a new mission and I want to do it with the same singular focus that I had while building Instacart,” Mehta wrote on Twitter. “Stepping off the board will allow me to do just that.”
Instacart confirmed the news in a press release and said that Fidji Simo, a former Facebook executive who took over as CEO of Instacart when Mehta departed the role, will be the future executive chairman of the board.
Simo quote tweeted Mehta’s announcement and thanked him “for all he has done for Instacart over the last decade.” In a press release, she said that “as CEO and future Chair, I look forward to working alongside our retail partners to shape the next decade of grocery’s evolution.”
Instacart says its board of directors includes “Meredith Kopit Levien, President and Chief Executive Officer of The New York Times Company; Lily Sarafan, Co-Founder and Executive Chair of TheKey; Barry McCarthy, President and Chief Executive Officer of Peloton; Daniel Sundheim, Founder and Chief Investment Officer of D1 Capital Partners; Frank Slootman, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Snowflake; Michael Moritz, Managing Member of Sequoia Capital; and Jeff Jordan, General Partner of Andreessen Horowitz.”
Founders often transition to executive chairman roles as their companies grow, pivot or require new leadership as the business shifts from a private startup to a public company. Think of the transition as going from being involved with day-to-day decisions to overseeing broader strategy, from time to time. Mehta’s plan to leave an already distant role may mean competitive dynamics are afoot between Instacart and his “new mission” that he alluded to. Instacart did not address questions related to competitive dynamic at play. Mehta’s departure could also just be a clean break after rising tensions between him and the board that he once appointed.
Instacart is clearly having an executive reshuffling of sorts. Prior CTO Mark Schaaf is leaving the company, TechCrunch reported. Additionally, the U.S. grocery-delivery giant recently promoted Daniel Danker and Laura Jones, vice presidents of product and marketing, to chief product officer and chief marketing officer, respectively. Instacart also promoted its vice president of engineering, Varouj Chitilian, to the CTO role.