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Tinder’s first female CEO out after less than a year

<i>Adobe Stock</i><br/>Tinder's newest CEO is out after less than a year on the job
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Tinder's newest CEO is out after less than a year on the job

By Sara Ashley O’Brien, CNN Business

Tinder’s newest CEO is out after less than a year on the job, marking the second high-profile female executive to depart its parent company, Match Group, in a matter of months.

Match Group’s newly tapped CEO Bernard Kim announced Tinder CEO Renate Nyborg’s departure on Tuesday in a letter to shareholders that outlined his “observations” from 62 days on the job.

“Our goal is to inspire our brands to optimize everything we do and build the best teams internally to deliver the finest services externally,” wrote Kim, making clear that Tinder has fallen short on product execution, attracting new users, and getting people to spend money even as it has continued to add new bells and whistles to its app in recent quarters. Those additions include an integration with Spotify called “Music Mode,” which allows people to share a music “Anthem” on their profile and “Blind Date,” a feature that pairs people based on interests before revealing their photos.

The letter accompanied the dating app giant’s earnings for the three months ending in June, which sent Match Group stock down 20% on Wednesday. Match Group, which owns companies including Tinder, Hinge, OKCupid, and Match.com, indicated that while most of its businesses benefited from the widespread availability of Covid vaccines in the second half of 2021 leading people to engage more offline, it hasn’t seen the same sort of surge in 2022.

Match Group reported total revenue of $795 million, up 12% compared to the same quarter last year but below its forecast of between $800 million and $810 million. On a call to discuss its earnings Wednesday, Match Group’s chief financial officer noted that Tinder’s lower-than-expected revenue contribution had a “meaningful negative effect on our overall company margins.”

Tinder has historically been a bright spot for the company, making up the majority of the portfolio’s active users, who are among some of its youngest to online date. Just last quarter, Match Group touted Tinder’s ability to consistently show growth in its user base, as it has continued to seek out new and different ways to incite that growth.

But not all have made sense in practice. As the company has churned through two CEOs since the start of the pandemic, it has also thrown a number of new features and products at the wall to see what sticks. Now Kim is hoping to right the ship. He noted in the letter the “mixed results” in testing Tinder Coins, a virtual currency it announced last year. “We’ve decided to take a step back and re-examine that initiative so that it can more effectively contribute to Tinder’s revenue,” he wrote.

Nyborg was made chief executive in late September 2021, taking the reins from Jim Lanzone, a media executive who’d been on the job for roughly one year. Nyborg was celebrated by Match Group as the “first female CEO of [the] world’s top dating app” in its 10-year history.

At the time, Match Group’s then-CEO Shar Dubey touted Nyborg in a press release as “relentlessly focused on accelerating growth and developing experiences based on what our members — particularly women — are looking for.” Nyborg had been heading up Tinder’s European business since joining in 2020.

In May, Dubey stepped down and Kim, who previously served as the president of video game developer Zynga, took over the helm. Kim said the search is on for a new Tinder CEO. In the meantime, Kim announced a new team of executives he’ll oversee (“all executives that have either been extremely successful within Match Group or that I’ve known for many years”) to manage the day-to-day operations. He said the company “remains focused” on previously announced initiatives, including measures to “better serve our female users.”

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