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HubSpot cofounder to step down as CEO after accident

Brian Halligan is moving to executive chairman, while Yamini Rangan takes over the top job

Yamini Rangan (left) will become HubSpot’s new chief executive, replacing cofounder and longtime CEO Brian Halligan (right), who will become executive chairman.
Yamini Rangan (left) will become HubSpot’s new chief executive, replacing cofounder and longtime CEO Brian Halligan (right), who will become executive chairman.Courtesy of HubSpot

HubSpot cofounder Brian Halligan has recovered from a snowmobile accident but said on Wednesday he has decided not to return to the company as chief executive.

Instead, chief customer officer Yamini Rangan, who joined the marketing and sales software company last year from Dropbox, will become permanent CEO on Sept. 7. Halligan will shift to executive chairman of the board. Rangan has been filling in for Halligan since the accident in February.

“I’ve also been thinking a lot about how I can have the most impact on HubSpot moving forward, and moving to the executive chairman role feels like a natural fit,” Halligan said in a statement from the company on Wednesday.

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“I’m deeply humbled, grateful and excited to take on this new opportunity in partnership with Brian, Dharmesh [Shah], and the entire HubSpot team,” Rangan said in the statement.

Shares of HubSpot, which have more than doubled over the past year, rose 3 percent after the announcement. HubSpot also announced its second-quarter financial results, with sales up 53 percent to $311 million and a net loss of $25 million, down 16 percent from the same period a year earlier.

Rangan joined HubSpot in January 2020 with the same title, chief customer officer, she had at California-based online storage firm Dropbox. Prior to that role she had worked at HR software developer Workday and European software giant SAP.

HubSpot’s headquarters is in Cambridge, while Rangan is based in San Francisco.

After the accident, Halligan tweeted that he had smashed 20 bones and had 34 screws inserted during surgery. Halligan is “recovering really well,” a spokeswoman said. “His brain and wit are as sharp as ever, and he has some additional physical therapy as his body continues to recover,” she added.

Halligan’s cofounder, Dharmesh Shah, retains his role as chief technology officer. “From reducing friction for our customers, to leading the company with clarity and empathy, Yamini has proven she is ready to take on the role of CEO,” he said in a statement.

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The first reaction from Wall Street was positive. Analyst Arjun Bhatia at William Blair wrote that he expects Halligan to remain involved as chairman and assist Rangan in leading the company.

“Given her past experience and the continued partnership of the founding team, we believe that Rangan can effectively take over the reins and guide HubSpot through the next phase of its growth,” Bhatia wrote in a report on Wednesday.

Halligan and Shah started the company in 2006 after graduating together from MIT’s Sloan School of Management. They took the company public in 2014, around the same time fellow Boston tech firm Wayfair made its stock market debut. Both companies have since grown alongside the explosion of digital marketing and e-commerce.

HubSpot’s revenue has grown from $116 million in 2014 to $883 million last year. Its stock price has risen from $25 at the IPO to $590 at Wednesday’s close.

Along with the hyper growth, however, Halligan also had to deal with a scandal on his watch. In 2015, the company fired its head of marketing for attempting to obtain a draft of a forthcoming book about HubSpot written by a former employee. Halligan was sanctioned for knowing about the incident but failing to alert HubSpot’s board of directors “in a timely fashion.”

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Aaron Pressman can be reached at aaron.pressman@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @ampressman.