After almost 17 years at the firm, veteran Zappos executive Fred Mossler is stepping down.
In a company-wide email disseminated Thursday, Mossler — who has no formal title as part of the company’s unique business model — told employees he had decided “it’s time” to leave Zappos to pursue full-time entrepreneurship.
“There are not words that can describe what this company has and what the people in it have meant to me and the appreciation I have for the opportunities I’ve had throughout the years,” Mossler said in the email.
The right hand to Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh, Mossler had seen the startup evolve from a two-bedroom apartment into the billion-dollar online footwear and clothing powerhouse acquired by Amazon in 2009.
The longtime executive, who had overseen merchandising, marketing, creative services and product presentations, among other areas, during his tenure at the firm, said he would not stray too far from the company he helped to build nor his partner of many years.
“I plan on continuing to live, work and play in downtown Las Vegas,” Mossler wrote. “I’ll be focusing my time on the Downtown Project, Life Is Beautiful, Nacho Daddy and a few other companies that Tony and I have invested in together. Tony will remain focused on Zappos, but we’ll still be tied at the hip and I still expect to contribute to Zappos as his thought partner.”
(Life is Beautiful is a music, art, food festival in Downtown Las Vegas, while Downtown Project is Hsieh’s revitalization effort that funds businesses in the city. Nacho Daddy is a Las Vegas-based Mexican restaurant chain.)
Two years ago, Hsieh implemented holacracy, a non-hierarchical business model that removed formal titles from the organization and relied on employees to govern themselves. About 18 percent of the company’s employees have since left the company following the change.
But in his departure letter, Mossler, who will remain on board until June 3 to aid in the transition, said he believes the firm’s controversial business structure will make his exit easier on the firm.
“I’ll be working with my lead links over the next six weeks to transition my roles to a distributed set of people,” Mossler said. “Prior to implementing holacracy, I would have been concerned about my absence leaving gaps in the organization, but due to my roles being clearly defined, the transition will be a lot easier than it would have been prior to holacracy.”