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Brown-Philpot Tapped as New TaskRabbit CEO

The appointment makes the former Googler one of the few black women to get a top job in the diversity-challenged tech industry.

Stacy Brown-Philpot, the COO of TaskRabbit, has been named CEO of the San Francisco-based errand and personal services platform. She takes over for founder Leah Busque, who is moving to the role of executive chairwoman.

“The problems and challenges we face are different from when we started,” said Busque. “Stacy is someone who knows how to scale and build the kind of strong partnerships we need to really grow.”

Brown-Philpot is a former Google exec who once ran online sales and operations for the search giant in India. Prior to Google, she worked at PricewaterhouseCoopers and Goldman Sachs and is also a current board member of HP Inc.

It goes without saying — but I will anyway — that the CEO appointment makes her one of the few black women to garner a top spot in the diversity-challenged tech industry. It is an issue that Brown-Philpot has been well aware of, having founded the Black Googler Network to address the ongoing problem.

There’s Ursula Burns at Xerox, obviously, but it’s not a long list. “I deserve this job and I am going to take the opportunity to lead,” said Brown-Philpot. “I am in the job I want to be in now.”

She has a big task, especially in the more sober economic environment that is seeing contraction and consolidation. TaskRabbit has raised $50 million from venture firms like Lightspeed Venture Partners and Shasta Ventures and competes with a lot of vertical players like Washio, Handy, Thumbtack and many others.

While there is a lot of uncertainty in the on-demand economy after a flood of investment and hype, both Brown-Philpot and Busque said TaskRabbit is bucking that trend, with four times revenue growth in 2015, as well as a tripling of clients. Both declined to give specific numbers, though.

But they said that TaskRabbit would be profitable in 2016. “Profitable profitable,” said Brown-Philpot, when I asked her if that was one of those hair-all-over-it definitions of making money that digital startups like to use.

One of the reasons for the stronger performance, she said, was due to the recent release of a new real-time mobile app, which is indeed nifty and easy to use. TaskRabbit also did a large marketing push earlier this year in its key markets of San Francisco, London and Los Angeles.

There are now 50,000 “Taskers” on the platform, earning an average of $35 a hour. Both Brown-Philpot and Busque said that the workforce has gotten much more stable, which helps with consumers and consistent service.

Several years ago, TaskRabbit also did some layoffs and executive changes, which Brown-Philpot said were important to its current growth. TaskRabbit currently has 60 employees.

“We now have the right team in place for where we are going,” she said.

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