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As Snapchat Explodes, Another Executive Flees

Snapchat COO Emily White is leaving the company.

As Snapchat Explodes, Another Executive Flees
[Photo: Patrick Fallon/Bloomberg via Getty Images]

If you’re having trouble keeping up with Snapchat’s explosion, we feel you. One day the social messaging company is moving into sports broadcasting. The next, it nabs a huge investment from Alibaba at a $15 billion valuation. But even as Snapchat’s successes mount, not everyone at the company is thrilled.

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Emily White, the seasoned Silicon Valley executive hired as Snapchat’s COO in 2013, is leaving the company, according to Re/code. White is the third top executive to leave Snapchat in the last two months, a fact that suggests some internal growing pains for the ultra-hot ephemeral social messaging company.

From the sound of it, White’s departure has more to do politics than product or business. The ambitious Facebook alum has reportedly butted heads with CEO Evan Spiegel, who seeks a “more hands-on and operational” role as the company’s top executive.

It may well be a coincidence, but this small exodus of executive talent comes just as Snapchat is shifting gears in a major way. Since January, the company has made a huge push into media distribution with the launch of its Discover channel, which features video content from a number of big media brands like Vice, National Geographic, and ESPN. Snapchat has even launched its own exclusive, Netflix-style Internet TV series and begun negotiating for the streaming rights for NCAA basketball games.

This shift toward publishing is Snapchat’s latest attempt to answer the challenging question of how to monetize an app focused on delivering seconds-long clips that disappear after they’re viewed. The answer: enter an entirely new business with a proven model.

So far, the gamble appears to be paying off. The ads delivered alongside Snapchat’s new video content are reportedly very lucrative: Publishers are said to be able to net up to $100,000 per day from the ad units, which command a much higher cost-per-thousand-views rate than standard video ads.

Before arriving at Snapchat, White oversaw monetization efforts at Instagram. For White, the opportunity to fill the second-in-command executive role at Snapchat was a big promotion, even if it didn’t pan out the way she had planned.

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There’s no word yet on what White plans to do next, but we’ll certainly be keeping an eye out.

About the author

John Paul Titlow is a writer at Fast Company focused on music and technology, among other things.

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