Snapchat COO Emily White steps down

By | March 14, 2015
Snapchat Emily white

If you are having trouble keeping up with Snapchat’s flare-up, don’t worry you are just one among the crowd. One day the social messaging company is moving into sports broadcasting. The next, it nabs a huge investment from Alibaba at a $15 billion valuation. But even as Snapchat’s successes mount, not everyone at the company is thrilled.

Snapchat Emily white

Emily White, the high-profile Instagram exec whose hiring as COO of Snapchat in late 2013 was much touted, is leaving the ephemeral-messaging company. She is not alone. White is the third top executive to leave Snapchat in the last two months, a fact that suggests some internal growing pains for the ultra-hot ephemeral social messaging company. The Venice, Calif.-based company confirmed the departure in a statement: “Emily is a talented executive and we thank her for her many contributions to Snapchat.”

Though the reason has not been disclosed, sources suggest, the move was precipitated in recent weeks with the realization by co-founder and CEO Evan Spiegel that he wants to be a more hands-on and operational CEO. The pair apparently discussed the issue, especially since White had been responsible for vast Swaths of Snapchat, including business operations, sales and HR.

It may well be a coincidence, but this small emigration of executive talent comes just as Snapchat is shifting gears in a major way. Since January, the company has made a huge push into media distribution with the launch of its Discover channel, which features video content from a number of big media brands like Vice, National Geographic and ESPN. Snapchat has even launched its own exclusive, Netflix style Internet TV series and begun negotiating for the streaming rights for NCAA basketball games.

This shift toward publishing is Snapchat’s latest attempt to answer the challenging question of how to monetize an app focused on delivering seconds-long clips that disappear after they’re viewed. The answer: enter an entirely new business with a proven model.

Until now, the gamble appears to be paying off. The ads delivered alongside Snapchat’s new video content are reportedly very lucrative: Publishers are said to be able to net up to $100,000 per day from the ad units, which command a much higher cost-per-thousand-views rate than standard video ads.

Before arriving at Snapchat, White oversaw monetization efforts at Instagram. For White, the opportunity to fill the second-in-command executive role at Snapchat was a big promotion, even if it didn’t pan out the way she had planned.