Restaurant and shopping reviews website Yelp on Sunday revealed to USA Today that it has named Diane Irvine as its first chairwoman — a move that will be seen as a championing of women in top tech roles traditionally dominated by men.
The company’s previous chairman, Max Levchin, stepped down in July following a loss of $1.3 million in the most recent quarter and concerns from investors about the company’s future performance. As we reported at the time, the real problem seems to stem from threats posed to Yelp’s local ads business by the likes of Google and others. Rumours of a possible sale were also making the rounds in May, though Yelp has since said it wouldn’t be pursuing that option.
“I think the company has great market share and still has tremendous opportunity in the future,” Irvine told Today in an interview. “I am excited to be in this new role… We want to show that progress in the months and years ahead throughout the company, and that would include the board… The percentages of women on boards is not where we would like it to be, yet there are women on boards so it could happen and should happen one company at a time.”
Irvine was the former chief executive at Blue Nile, and has been on Yelp’s board since 2011. Besides news of its declining investor sentiment and lowered revenue guidance as of Q2, the company made headlines in July when it had to scrub thousands of angry comments from the page of a lion-murdering dentist.
We’ve reached out to Yelp for comment on this story and will update you if we hear back. In any case, an official announcement seems in order (which doesn’t seem to have been made so far).
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