Exclusive: Eventbrite Has a New CEO, and You’ll Never Guess Who it Is
It wasn’t all that long ago that Eventbrite co-founder Kevin Hartz stepped down from his chief executive duties, taking a temporary medical leave and handing over the “office of the CEO” to his co-founder and wife, Julia Hartz, and a couple of other execs. (He is “100% better,” according to the company.) Now, under the recommendation of the former Hartz, Eventbrite’s board has decided to officially crown the latter Hartz with the CEO title.
“This is a new reality,” Julia Hartz said in an exclusive interview with Fortune.
The new CEO has overseen Eventbrite’s three-headed office of the CEO since last November. The trio also included the online ticketing platform’s CFO and its VP of strategy. Now, that office is being dissolved and Julia Hartz will officially lead the company as CEO. She is also taking a seat on Eventbrite’s board of directors, while Kevin Hartz will stay on as executive chairman.
“Kevin’s focused on future opportunities and I’m focused on the day to day,” said Julia Hartz. (An Eventbrite spokesperson clarified that the new CEO is tasked with both day to day and future growth opportunities, but would be leveraging Kevin Hartz’s expertise on future product vision.)
Julia Hartz co-founded Eventbrite with her husband and CTO Renaud Visage 10 years ago, and up until now had primarily been tasked with overseeing marketing, customer support, sales, and “Briteling experience” (Eventbrite-speak for human resources). Now all aspects of the business will report to her, including product lines.
“What I didn’t appreciate about myself is that I’m good at coaching leaders,” said Julia Hartz.
San Francisco-based Eventbrite powers more than 2 million events a year, and has processed over $5 billion in gross tickets sales since it was launched a decade ago. Julia Hartz is taking the reigns at a critical time. In late 2014, the company made the decision to reach profitability by the end of 2016, and soon Hartz will need to deliver on that promise. To help her get there, the company is focused on a “distributed commerce strategy”—industry jargon for selling tickets on other websites. Eventbrite customers, in case you’re wondering, include the Maker Faire, Tribeca Film Festival, and the Gilroy Garlic Festival (yes, such a thing exists) and many more. The company makes money by charging organizers—not buyers—a cut of each ticket sold.
In her interview with Fortune, Julia Hartz said that Eventbrite is “more focused than ever” and that she is on track to reach the company’s profitability goals. Her husband and co-founder seems to agree.
“She [Julia Hartz] has proven time and time again that no challenge is too great or goal unachievable,” Kevin Hartz said in a company release. “It’s so fitting that the person who took customer support calls in the middle of the night in the early days is our chief ten years later.”