December 10th, 2013
There’s no easy way to say something hard like this, so I’m just going to come out and say it. After four years at the helm of Strava, I will transition from being CEO to becoming President and Chair of the board of directors. This change will happen on January 1, 2014.
Before there was Strava in my life, there was my wife Anna. Anna survived breast cancer caused by a BRCA1 mutation in 2004 and in 2006. (Yes, you guessed it — she’s tough as nails.) Back then I was on the management team of a start-up about the same size as Strava is today and my work responsibilities were quite large. I had the choice then to prioritize caring for Anna over work and regrettably, I didn’t. At least not the way I should have. Thankfully for me, Anna persevered and found the grace to forgive me.
A few months ago, pain in Anna’s abdomen was diagnosed to be metastatic breast cancer in her liver. Her condition is chronic, meaning that with today’s available treatments it cannot be ‘beaten’; however its progression can be managed for an unknown amount of time. With the same choice in front of me now as before, I’m choosing Anna. She needs me and, more importantly, I need her. Not knowing how many moments we may have together makes it clear that I should be with her in this moment. The ability to be fully present for her and for our four teenage children is a gift, and I’m the recipient as much as they are.
Now for some happier news. Mark Gainey — my business partner for nearly 20 years, co-founder of and former CEO of Strava, Chair of our board, and my closest friend — is stepping up to lead the company. I will remain on the management team as President and will chair our board of directors going forward. That means I will remain part of the team — helping Mark to lead Strava in its mission to serve you, our global community of athletes. In turn, I gain the flexibility needed to care for my family.
In early 2009, Mark Gainey and I pulled a band of hackers, tinkerers, and legit software engineers together to build a website to motivate athletes. We weren’t sure of how big it would become, only that Strava was going to be great. It may have come from humble ambitions, but today Strava can’t be stopped. Not by cancer. Not by change. Strava’s strength comes not from me, but from our truly amazing and talented team. It also comes from you and every Strava athlete out there proving it on road and trail every day.
We got this.