Instacart poached Facebook exec Fidji Simo to become its new CEO

The online grocery startup Instacart just announced its new CEO will take over on August 2nd. Fidji Simo has been in charge of Facebook’s “big blue app” since 2019, putting her in charge of “News Feed, Stories, Groups, Video, Marketplace, Gaming, News, Dating and Ads,” but now, like a number of former Facebook execs recently, she’s headed to Instacart ahead of its expected IPO.

Simo’s departure comes at an interesting time for Facebook, as regulators and politicians take aim at Big Tech, with its market dominance and opaque algorithms that control the online experience for billions of people. Facebook has faced criticism over its “pivot to video” and role as a pipeline for bad actors and misinformation, while a memo from Simo last year popped up as an example of how engagement metrics appear to be the most important thing to the company.

Facebook developer conference F8

Photo by Andrej Sokolow / picture alliance / Getty Images

Bloomberg reports that she’ll be replaced by Tom Alison, who ran community products including the controversial “Groups” feature, also noting that with this change, all of Facebook’s highest ranking product execs are men.

Meanwhile, Facebook’s structure means that Mark Zuckerberg continues to run things as he sees fit without the threat of being replaced or supplanted, no matter who is in charge of the app itself. Earlier Thursday a New York Times article ran — after a warning went out to Facebook employees claiming it may not represent a “nuanced portrait” — that described how the relationship between Zuckerberg and COO Sheryl Sandberg has changed in recent years, with Sandberg’s influence over the company reportedly waning as Zuckerberg controls more of the decisions.

At Instacart, Simo takes over a startup recently valued at $39 billion that is poised to increase headcount and expected to go public soon. In a statement, she says, “As we think about the future of food, we believe the way people eat and their relationship with food will fundamentally change over the next decade. They’ll expect a more convenient experience, the widest selection of food at their fingertips, faster delivery times, increased personalization, and more inspiration. Instacart has an opportunity to deliver all of that for customers, while also becoming an even stronger ally and growth accelerator for retailers and advertisers, and helping create economic opportunities for hundreds of thousands of shoppers.”

That doesn’t mean the grocery company is without issues either, with incredibly optimistic ideas of automating the workforce, as well as dark tales of employee treatment and responses to unionization efforts during the pandemic.

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