Stacy Brown-Philpot is leaving the San Francisco-based gig worker marketplace that hires people to perform multiple duties for consumers. As one of the few female Black CEOs in Silicon Valley, she set a new precedent for how technology companies operate when diversity is top of mind. With the diversity rate in Silicon Valley C-suite leadership declining, will Brown-Philpot’s exit implore other tech companies to bring in more executives of color?
The Breakdown You Need To Know: CultureBanx reported that she played a big role in boosting the firm’s diversity actions. In 2019, some 60% of TaskRabbit’s leadership were women, and 48% of its workers identified as people of color, according to NBC News. When you consider that African-Americans account for 3% of workers at America’s five biggest technology firms, you can understand what a loss like Brown-Philpot means for the broader industry, especially during these uncertain times.
The pandemic may also hinder diversity initiatives, as McKinsey found that 27% of organizations have put all or most diversity and inclusion initiatives on hold. This is not something Brown-Philpot wants to happen once she departs from TaskRabbit, and Silicon Valley can’t handle even less diversity. The executive noted that there have been “extensive discussions” about her replacement and the importance of diverse and inclusive leadership.
Brown-Philpot noted the future of the company should be bright even as the pandemic continues. “The team has risen to the challenges… and now are rallying around each other to address issues of racial injustice in ways that are both inspiring and humbling,” Brown-Philpot wrote in a blog post.
Task Completed: Her success at the helm of TaskRabbit cannot be denied, she took over as CEO in 2016 and a year later home furnishing retailer IKEA Group acquired TaskRabbit in 2017. In 2018, she led the company through a cyber security breach and took its website and app down. Brown-Philpot took immediate action to communicate with TaskRabbit users soon after discovering the breach, while also setting the expectation for future updates. A move like this possibly saved the company lots of money as date breached can become very expensive issues down the road. The Ponemon Institute also found the average cost of a breach to a U.S. company in 2017 was $7.35 million.
Prior to taking over the top spot at TaskRabbit, Brown-Philpot spent nearly a decade at Google heading online sales and operations. Currently, she sits on the board of directors for HP, Nordstrom and Black Girls Code. Additionally, she is a founding member of SoftBank’s $100 million Opportunity Fund that exclusively funds businesses led by Black Americans and people of color.
What’s Next: The New York Times reported she actually made plans to leave the company before global protests broke out last month after the killing of George Floyd. Her scheduled departure from TaskRabbit will occur on Aug. 31 and the company’s board of directors is conducting a search for a new CEO.