US: Airbnb COO Belinda Johnson has announced she is stepping down from her role in March 2020, when she will then join the company’s board.
The news comes in the middle of a turbulent period for Airbnb as it prepares to go public at some point early next year.
In her departure statement, she cited reasons relating to “work-life balance” and that it was difficult to “balance a successful career being a mom[sic]”.
Johnson was hired by Airbnb in 2011 as one of co-founder Brian Chesky’s first executive recruits and her departure from the role leaves a big hole to fill in the company’s leadership team as she was highly regarded by Chesky.
Prior to serving as chief operating officer, she held the positions of chief business affairs and legal officer, and more recently has played a dynamic role in addressing regulatory disputes with cities and towns around the world.
At a time when Airbnb has faced mounting pressure to hand over user information and bow down to updated rental restrictions and taxes, it is feared that Johnson’s vacating of the role will scupper the company’s chances of going in for an IPO in the first half of 2020.