(Bloomberg)—Blue Apron Inc. soared as much as 24% in early trading Wednesday after it named Etsy Inc. executive Linda Findley Kozlowski as CEO, replacing Brad Dickerson. The meal-kit delivery company also affirmed its outlook for “significant improvement” in financial results.
Kozlowski’s appointment is effective April 8, New York-based Blue Apron said Tuesday in a statement. Dickerson, who joined the company as chief financial officer in 2016 and was named CEO a year later, is resigning to pursue other opportunities, according to the statement. Blue Apron’s co-founder and head of technology, Ilia Papas, will also step down. Blue Apron is No. 67 in the Internet Retailer 2018 Top 1000.
Once a darling of New York’s startup scene, Blue Apron was an early pioneer in the meal-kit market. But an ill-timed IPO, coming on the heels of Amazon.com Inc.’s purchase of Whole Foods and competition from HelloFresh, have put pressure on customer acquisition costs. The company also had problems at its fulfillment center, which was plagued by delays.
Dickerson had been working to stabilize Blue Apron’s revenue by focusing on “high-affinity” customers, who tend to order more. At the end of last year, Blue Apron had 557,000 customers, compared with German rival HelloFresh (No. 84), which boasts a customer base of about 1.88 million. Dickerson also helped broker a partnership with WW, formerly known as Weight Watchers, and said in January that Blue Apron had seen “higher-than-expected demand” so far.
Kozlowski has a background in ecommerce and consumer-focused businesses. In addition to her role as chief operating officer at Etsy for three years, she previously served as chief operating officer at Evernote Corp., and had worked for Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. as director of global marketing and customer experience.
In the statement Tuesday, Blue Apron affirmed its previous forecast that the company would narrow its net loss and become profitable in the first quarter and in 2019 on a basis of adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization.
The company reported a loss of $23.7 million in the fourth quarter and $122.1 million for 2018. Blue Apron lost $61.4 million in 2018 on an adjusted EBITDA basis.Favorite