Airbnb names Amazon’s Dave Stephenson as its chief financial officer

Worldwide: Airbnb has ended its 10-month search for a new chief financial officer after it named Amazon finance executive Dave Stephenson in the position.

Stephenson, a long-time executive at Amazon, was responsible for overseeing the finances of the company’s worldwide consumer business. He is now expected to take up the role of leading Airbnb’s potential public offering, which the company said would likely be by 2020.

Airbnb’s CFO position had been vacant since February of this year, after a clash between Laurence Tosi and CEO Brian Chesky over business strategy and IPO timing led to the former stepping down.

The hiring of Stephenson represented the second time this year that Airbnb had filled high-profile vacancies with highly-regarded, senior executives from Amazon.

Back in the spring, it hired Greg Greeley, who managed the direction of Amazon Prime, as its president of homes. Greeley then endorsed other high-profile Amazon executives, including Stephenson, to hold similar positions at the short-term rental platform.

Stephenson and Greeley will both be expected to report to CEO Brian Chesky within the remit of their roles.
The role will offer Stephenson the opportunity to lead a company through an IPO for the first time at a significant moment of expansion for Airbnb.

The potential IPO for Airbnb, valued privately at around $31 billion, will be one of the most closely monitored in the technology world as well as one of the most valuable.

In the meantime, Airbnb is looking to extend its offering into new business ventures such as upscale homes, boutique hotels and unique travel tours; the latter in particular being an example of enhancing guests’ experiences and allowing them to immerse themselves in the local culture.

In doing so, many experts believe Airbnb is trying to become more like Amazon, by operating on a model that is financially disciplined and proficient.