If you're feeling a sense of deja vu, the Market Foolery guys agree you should. Snap Inc. (NYSE:SNAP) Chief Strategy Officer Imran Khan becomes the seventh key executive to head for the exits since the social-media company went public in March 2017.
Khan says he has no disagreements with the company, but the fact remains that Snap isn't faring well, and in this segment from this podcast, Chris Hill and senior analysts Jason Moser and Taylor Muckerman talk about its troubles competing with Instagram, its increasing reliance on founder Evan Spiegel, its vision problems, and more.
A full transcript follows the video.
This video was recorded on Sept. 10, 2018.
Chris Hill: Snap is looking for a new chief strategy officer. Imran Khan is stepping down, saying this is not related to any disagreement with Snap. He's been there a few years. He helped take the company public. And I don't blame any listeners who are listening to this right now and thinking themselves, "Wait, weren't you guys talking recently about another member of the leadership who left?" Yeah. Since they went public last year, they've had turnover in the following positions: chief strategy officer, chief financial officer, the head of product, the head of engineering, the head of sales, the head of hardware, and their chief counsel.
Taylor Muckerman: My goodness!
Jason Moser: Talk about drama.
Muckerman: Yeah, we've been less than bullish on this company from the get-go on this podcast, and remain that way today, especially when you see Instagram stories really taking a lot of market share from Snapchat. Lost about 3 million daily active users in the last quarter and gave lower guidance than expected on the top line. To see the chief strategy officer leave while the company isn't really performing up to expectations is definitely a bad sign.
Moser: We talk a lot about how, with certain companies, leadership can sometimes not only be a big reason to invest in the business, it can also be one of the biggest risks as well. When you think about companies like Under Armour or Tesla, I think Snap falls in that category, as well. More and more, this is clearly becoming an investment that depends on Evan Spiegel, at this point, and what he wants to do with this platform. We heard a lot in the early days the word "visionary" get batted around with them. I mean, listen, this is a messaging platform, OK? Let's just make sure not to take this too seriously. This is a company that's building out a messaging platform. That's what it's doing. I know they like to call themselves a camera company, whatever. Just start making some money. Figure this out. As it stands right now, we've seen this play out before. We watched Twitter do the same thing back in the early days. They went public early, didn't really have a clear idea of what they wanted to do with the business. There was no real strategy. What comes from that is this revolving door when it comes to leadership. Now we're watching it play out again with Snap. It's not to say that Snap can't be a good business or a good investment in time. I think it certainly could. But based on what we've seen to date, I don't think it's coming anytime soon.
I want to see who they get in there to fill this position. I think they're intending to fill it with the chief business officer, who's going to be someone who can help evolve the business model somewhat and figure out how to monetize that platform the best way possible. But as it stands today, still very much a one-trick pony, and that trick ain't so impressive as it stands.
Hill: I'm glad you mentioned Under Armour. That was one of my thoughts when I saw this news this morning. We've talked -- and others -- have talked in this room about, at various points in 2018, in talking about Under Armour, we've talked about Kevin Plank. We've said, "Look, one of the legitimate questions about Kevin Plank right now is, can he keep a leadership team around him?" And I saw this story with Snap this morning, and I said, "I think we need to start asking the same question about Evan Spiegel."
Muckerman: Yeah, he's chased just about everybody out, it seems like. Maybe not him, but something is.
Moser: By all accounts, it does seem like a bit of a tough place to work. I mean, I've never been there. I've never interviewed anybody from there. But, everything that we've read to this point leads me to believe that it's not the easiest place to work and he's not the easiest guy to work for. You have to at least take that kind of stuff into consideration. Plank, by far and away, we saw that same thing play out. When you have executives leaving, typically, they're leaving for a reason. One or two is one thing, but when you have a revolving door, that's another entirely. When we held Under Armour in Million Dollar Portfolio, the leadership team was one of the qualifiers there for holding onto the investment. We needed to make sure that the CFO and the COO stick around for at least a little while. And by a little while, I mean like five years. We need to know that he's created this environment where people can work and succeed. I think Snap has that same burden at this point.