Sarah Friar, Square’s operations lead and chief financial officer, has taken a seat on the board of directors at New Relic, a cloud-based software company quickly approaching a public offering. Friar is the latest female executive to take a prominent position at the company.
Friar will help New Relic recruit and retain talent, support current CFO Mark Sachleben, and provide strategic input to the company, she told VentureBeat.
“This is a company that’s going to be a big company,” she said.
In a news release announcing Friar’s new board role, New Relic also noted it has hired Robin Schulman as its general counsel. Schulman previously was legal counsel at Adobe.
And last month the company selected Hilarie Koplow-McAdams to be its first chief revenue officer. Koplow-McAdams was previously president of global sales at Salesforce.com.
The three appointments give more diversity to the leadership team of a company whose products are popular among developers.
In the past two years, companies such as Twitter, Facebook, and most recently Apple have dealt with concerns about not choosing women for key positions, particularly boards of directors. New Relic, meanwhile, is taking a more proactive tack.
The moves also point to a well-funded company being smart about who it brings aboard as it preps for a public offering, which could come later this year. (New Relic competitor AppDynamics looks like it could move to the public market soon, too.)
Lew Cirne, New Relic’s founder and chief executive, recalled meeting Friar in 1999 or 2000, while she was studying at Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business, he told VentureBeat. Later they got to know each other when Cirne was working on his company Wily Technology, which CA bought in 2006.
“I’ve just been amazed at her career path,” Cirne said of Friar. “She’s always been a great person, a great friend, but it occurred to me that, in particular this year when we saw each other at the [New Relic FutureStack] conference — you know how the best ideas just hit you like a ton of bricks — you are the perfect person. If I could find a person to add to our board, you’re that person.”
Cirne pointed to Friar’s experience as an analyst of enterprise software companies for more than a decade at Goldman Sachs, as well as the operations experience she picked up at Salesforce.com, where she was senior vice president of finance and strategy, and also her time at fast-growing Square.
Cirne said New Relic has added Friar to the board and hired Schulman and Koplow-McAdams based on their skllls. “These are just world-class executives that are amazing,” he said.
But, he added, “That having been said, we were a weak company because of an absence of diversity in our senior team. That was a problem that I wanted to fix, and we’re not done.”
Friar would prefer that companies not pick her to meet a diversity quota, she said. She said an ongoing relationship with Cirne helped clinch the deal, although she said she was happy to bring more diversity to the company.
“The most successful companies are the companies that look like their customer base, and as far as I know, it’s not only men buying software,” she said.
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