Hootsuite taps new CEO to replace co-founder Ryan Holmes

Tom Keiser takes over as CEO of Hootsuite July 6 | submitted

What happened: Hootsuite names new CEO

Why it matters: Vancouver tech firm long at the centre of rumours of an IPO or sale

Hootsuite has landed a new CEO following a nearly eight-month search to replace co-founder Ryan Holmes.

The Vancouver-based social media management company announced Monday (June 29) that Tom Keiser is set to take the helm July 6.

Holmes, who publicly revealed his intentions to step down as CEO in November 2019 to spend time with family, will remain as Hootsuite’s board chairman.

Keiser is the former chief operating officer of American software firm Zendesk Inc.

He presently lists his location on LinkedIn as San Francisco.

“Prior to joining Zendesk I held CIO [chief information officer] positions with two of the largest apparel specialty retailers in North America, Gap Inc. and L Brands. Prior to retail, I spent 12 years in management consulting with Ernst & Young and Capgemini,” Keiser states on his LinkedIn profile.

“I’m a father, husband, traveller, avid reader, long serving board member of Big Brothers Big Sisters, sports enthusiast, fisherman, art collector and I have a decent jump shot.”

In a news release from Hootsuite, Keiser is described as having helped boost Zendesk’s annual revenue from $200 million to nearly $1 billion.

While Hootsuite had been at the centre of speculation for a possible initial public offering for years, Reuters reported in 2018 the company had engaged Goldman Sachs Group Inc. to inquire about a potential sale.

But the process was abandoned just before Christmas 2018 when Hootsuite determined offers were less than the US$750 million it was aiming for, according to a January 2019 report from the Globe and Mail.

Holmes said in a November 2019 statement to Business in Vancouver Hootsuite undertook a benchmarking exercise at the beginning of 2019 and determined that the company “sit[s] very well amongst a number of criteria” for other companies at have gone public in the past year. 

The team found that within the companies examined, the average age was 14 years old, the average valuation is $3.6 billion and the average annual recurring revenue is about $200 million.

Hootsuite was founded in 2008 has about 1,000 employees worldwide.