Blue Apron CEO resigns, shares creep up

The embattled meal service company is bringing on its third CEO since its rough Wall Street debut nearly two years ago.

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Blue Apron's CEO and President Brad Dickerson is resigning, the embattled meal service company announced Tuesday, sending shares slightly up in after-hours trading. Dickerson, who is leaving "to pursue new opportunities," will be replaced by Linda Findley Kozlowski, who most recently served as COO of Etsy.

Blue Apron also announced that co-founder and CTO Ilia Papas is resigning, with his last day slated for May 3. "The company has a transition plan in place," Blue Apron's announcement said.

Kozlowski will be the third CEO to take the reins at Blue Apron since its rough Wall Street debut nearly two years ago. The company, which was once valued at $2 billion, went public in June 2017 at $10 per share. Its stock quickly started to drop as Blue Apron executives acknowledged the stiff competition it faced from grocers and other meal-kit delivery services, as well as its growing distribution costs and its difficulties retaining customers.

Co-founder Matt Salzberg was serving as CEO during the IPO, but Dickerson took over just six months later. In spite of the leadership change, the past year has been rough for Blue Apron. In January, the company beat Wall Street's Q4 expectations, but it acknowledged that its customer base was down 25 percent year-over-year. Net revenue per customer increased, but the company's total net revenue for the year decreased 25 percent.

Its shares are currently hovering around a price of $1, giving it a market cap less than $200 million.

Kozlowski officially steps up to the daunting task of leading Blue Apron on April 8.

"This is an exciting time to join Blue Apron," she said in a statement. "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."

In spite of its revenue and customer losses in Q4, Blue Apron said it expects to achieve profitability on an adjusted EBITDA basis in the first quarter and for the full year 2019. The company will report its Q1 earnings on April 30.