TaskRabbit CEO Stacy Brown-Philpot announced today that she is stepping down from her role at the freelance labor marketplace.
Brown-Philpot joined TaskRabbit seven years ago as the company’s chief operating officer and was promoted to CEO in the spring of 2016. In the fall of 2017, the company was acquired by Ikea for undisclosed terms in a stock deal and has continued to operate independently as a subsidiary of the company.
Brown-Philpot, who began her career in investment banking at Goldman Sachs, previously spent nearly nine years in a variety of roles at Google, beginning as a sales director, later managing a 1,000-person team in India, and leaving as a senior director of global consumer operations.
TaskRabbit sent us a statement regarding Brown-Philpot that reads in part that, “Under her leadership, TaskRabbit has become a successful global business that is strongly positioned for continued year-over-year growth.” The company adds that she will remain in the role until August 31 as it conducts a search for a new CEO.
Brown-Philpot, who is among a small number of Black women who have led tech companies as chief executive — others include former Xerox CEO Ursula Burns and Zoox CEO Aicha Evans — told the New York Times in an interview earlier today that she made plans to leave the company before global protests erupted roughly one month ago in reaction to the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police.
She suggests that they have impacted her deeply nonetheless, telling the outlet, “Every time somebody asks me how I’m doing, I process either consciously or subconsciously some form of racism that I’ve experienced. It’s torn apart families and communities. I’m just deeply frustrated by it all.”
Brown-Philpot says she has not yet decided on her next moves quite yet, but she will seemingly be busy nonetheless.
In addition to board director roles with HP, Nordstrom, and Black Girls Code, she recently agreed to serve as an adviser to a new $100 million fund that SoftBank announced two weeks ago to support companies led by people of color.
TaskRabbit, like many gig-economy companies, has been hard hit by the pandemic, though the company has remained open for business, including by connecting “Taskers” with virtual tasks and launching in April Tasks for Good, which connects vulnerable individuals in need with Taskers willing to volunteer their time to help.
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Gig workers broadly have seen an outsize impact owing to the coronavirus. Particularly from mid-March through May’s end, before cities began to slowly re-open, work largely dried up for those who are not full-time employees and thus have few protections like sick pay, health care, or guaranteed wages.
While activity is picking up, it remains far from where it was at the start of the year.
In 2018, Brown-Philpot appeared on the “Masters of Scale” podcast, hosted by LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman, and recounted memories from her first job, delivering newspapers on a paper route that she shared with her older brother.
As she told Hoffman then, “I grew up on the west side of Detroit. It wasn’t the best neighborhood, it wasn’t the worst neighborhood, but people looked out for each other. . . We would deliver the papers in the mornings, and then on the weekends we had to go collect from people. Of course, there were always people who didn’t want to pay, so I had to make sure we got paid.”
As with many business leaders, that early work experience proved formative for her, suggested Brown-Philpot, who said she was about 10 years old at the time.
“Some people would see us and it’s like, four degrees outside, and they would just give us that extra dollar. That just meant so much,” she told Hoffman, “because I know it came from people who didn’t have a whole lot of money, but they were proud of us for doing real work, good work, legal work, in a community where a lot of people did illegal work to make money. I think that helped inspire me probably later on, that if you do good work for good people, it’ll pay off.”
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