Max Levchin, co-founder of PayPal and Affirm, in July 2014.
Photograph by David Paul Morris — Bloomberg/Getty Images

After reports of exploring a sale, Yelp loses its chairman of the board.

By Leena Rao
July 28, 2015

PayPal co-founder Max Levchin is leaving as chairman of Yelp’s board, the online reviews company announced after releasing quarterly earnings today.

Levchin says he is resigning to focus on his new startup Affirm, which is rethinking the way consumers borrow money, allowing them to obtain a micro-loan at a point of sale transaction instead of using a credit card. Affirm recently raised $275 million in new funding. Levchin is also on the board of Yahoo.

Levchin helped found and provided initial seed money to Yelp when it was an early stage startup in 2004. He has served as the chairman of the board since that time.

 

Levchin’s departure comes at a crucial moment for Yelp. Earlier this year, the company reportedly hired Goldman Sachs to find a buyer. But in early July, Bloomberg Business reported that efforts to sell stalled, despite potential interest from acquirers. Earlier in the company’s history, CEO and co-founder Jeremy Stoppelman reportedly turned down acquisition offers from Google and Yahoo.

Last year, the company’s share hit a high of $97.25 per share, but has since dropped to $33 per share, giving the company a market cap of $2.5 billion. Today, the company’s stock dropped 16% in after hours trading on disappointing guidance. While revenue grew by 51%, sales and traffic growth are slowing.

“I am extremely proud of what Yelp has accomplished over the last 11 years and believe I leave it well-positioned to take advantage of the large local advertising market,” Levchin said in a statement. “I spoke with Jeremy and felt now is the right time to transition off the board. I’m confident that Yelp is prepared to continue its success as I increase my focus on my CEO responsibilities at Affirm, along with other demands on my time.”

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