Airbnb Co-Founder Joe Gebbia Is Stepping Down — Here’s Why

Rachel Curry - Author
By

Jul. 21 2022, Published 12:24 p.m. ET

Joe Gebbia has remained fully committed to Airbnb Inc. (ABNB) since co-founding the operation about a decade-and-a-half ago. Now, he is stepping down from his full-time role to pursue other projects.

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While Gebbia will remain on the board of directors, Airbnb will no longer be his full-time gig. Here’s the scoop on where Gebbia is headed and what’s next for Airbnb.

Why Joe Gebbia is leaving his full-time role as Airbnb CEO:

Gebbia and one of his co-founders, CEO Brian Chesky, were the two remaining OGs at Airbnb, but that’s changing. Gebbia announced in a letter published on the company website on Thursday, July 21, that he will retain a position on the company’s board of directors. However, he’s moving on from his full-time role.

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Having been with Airbnb for about 15 years, Gebbia says, “This is the only company I’ve ever helped build, and my brain is bursting with more ideas to bring to the world.”

Gebbia has been operating Airbnb in a full-time capacity, though his official title is unclear. He has also served as chairman of Airbnb.org, a 501(c)3 nonprofit connecting people in crisis with emergency response housing amid the COVID-19 pandemic, natural disasters, and the global refugee crisis. While he plans to stay involved in the nonprofit, Gebbia says he wants to take more time to focus on his family and prioritize other projects.

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“My first new venture is a startup called parenthood, at which I’ll be taking on the role of Dad,” Gebbia writes. “The others involve a complementary product to Airbnb, documentary filmmaking, and various philanthropic initiatives.

Will anyone replace Joe Gebbia at Airbnb?

joe gebbia
Source: Airbnb

Airbnb co-founders Brian Chesky, Joe Gebbia, and Nathan Blecharczyk in 2009

Gebbia’s official title, “co-founder,” can’t exactly be replaced. Airbnb may subsidize the removal of his full-time operational capacity with a new executive hire. However, it’s also likely the company will reconfigure responsibilities of existing high-level employees.

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Gebbia writes, “We emerged from an unprecedented setback to the travel industry with the best first quarter since we incorporated Airbnb fourteen years ago.” Even with that optimism, the risk of a looming recession remains. With that said, it’s unlikely Airbnb will take a C-suite risk that could jeopardize their relatively sturdy stance heading into bumpy territory.

Whatever’s next for Airbnb, Gebbia remains contemplative on its past (founders have a tendency to be mushy about leaving their corporate kin, though post-founder companies tend to perform better).

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Gebbia writes, “They say the culture of a company is a reflection of its founders. In our case, it’s also a reflection of our connection—the kind of brotherhood that endures through dizzying success and dismal failure. We formed a glue so strong that we like to joke about filing a patent for it. These are forever bonds. This is one reason why our Sunday night founder calls will continue for years to come.”

In short, what is a heartfelt goodbye isn’t really a goodbye at all. Even with Gebbia stepping down from his full-time role, his place at Airbnb is eternally solidified.

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