Struggling meal kit company Blue Apron Holdings has appointed Linda Findley Kozlowski as its new president and CEO, effective April 8. Kozlowski, who was also appointed to Blue Apron’s board of directors, will succeed Brad Dickerson, who is leaving the company to pursue other interests but will remain an adviser to the company for an undisclosed period.
Kozlowski, 45, has a proven record of success at innovative, consumer-focused companies, having most recently been COO of the online craft marketplace Etsy Inc., and prior to that was COO of Evernote Corp., a mobile productivity app for which Kozlowski served in various roles from 2012 to 2015. Prior to Evernote, Kozlowski was director of marketing and consumer experience for Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba.com.
Blue Apron rode booming consumer interest in prepared meal kits to a public offering in 2017 but swiftly encountered troubles in containing the costs of consumer attraction and retention while also experiencing operations issues associated with product assembly facilities. Under Dickerson, who was appointed CEO in December 2017, the New York-based company has been addressing those challenges by focusing efforts on its profitable customers and on new partnerships, but its stock price has languished.
The company lost $122 million in fiscal 2018 on $667.6 million in sales, a 24% decrease in revenues affected by a reduction in total customers. Blue Apron stock, which was trading below $1 a share for the last month, was up by more than 17% early Wednesday. The company affirmed prior guidance that it would post “a significant improvement in net loss” and would achieve profitability on an adjusted EBITDA basis for the first quarter and full year of fiscal 2019.
Blue Apron also said its co-founder and chief technology officer, Ilia Papas, will step down as part of the leadership transition. His last day with Blue Apron will be May 3.
Kozlowski in a statement framed her appointment as an opportunity to build on the foundation of her predecessor.
“This is an exciting time to join Blue Apron,” she said. “Over the past year, the company has made significant product, platform and operational advancements, and now has the right foundation for growth. I look forward to working closely with the team to focus on the best opportunities to attract and engage consumers and drive the business to new levels of performance.”
“We are incredibly excited to have an executive of Linda’s caliber as Blue Apron’s next CEO,” said Matt Salzberg, chairman of Blue Apron’s board of directors. “Linda’s exceptional leadership and marketing expertise, as well as her understanding of Blue Apron customers as a longtime customer herself, will help her advance the company toward sustainable, profitable growth.”