Sascha Williams joins Unbounce as Chief Operating Officer
It’s been over a year since our friend, colleague and Co-Founder, Jason Murphy, who served as Chief Operating Officer, left the company to pursue other ambitions. His departure was on great terms and we worked together on preparing Unbounce for post-Jason. Specifically, we debated on what position we wanted to fill as Jason also served in the Chief Finance role. Did we need someone who was focused on people and process or someone strong in finance? Did we need a COO or CFO?
At the time (and I don’t remember all the reasons why), we choose to go the CFO route. We hired in HR, Finance and Admin and with much of the day-to-day under control, Jason left and I went on a quiet search for a CFO. Through friends and colleagues I was introduced to many awesome candidates, though all seemed to be missing something that I just couldn’t put my finger on. Six months into the process I took a step back to reevaluate what we really needed.
The pain I was hearing in my 1-on-1s with many directors and team members, wasn’t anything related to finance. Instead, it was everything and anything related to managing a growing team — conflicts, time management, communication, leadership training, OKRs and much more. Managing growth is a challenge even for the more experienced of us, but there was something about our situation that seemed to amplify our challenges.
Out of our 100 (or so) employees, just 22 were over 35 years of age, and only 3 are over 45, including the leadership team. Additionally, at the time of Jason’s departure, only 2 or 3 of the 7 or 8 senior managers had any previous senior management experience.
I came to realize that the biggest challenge for our fast growing company was the general inexperience of the company itself. What we really needed was a people focused executive who’d been there, done that and could mentor our young team, cultivating leaders to lead leaders. After consulting with my co-founders, it didn’t take long to find exactly who we needed and most importantly, they shared our company values.
I’m happy to announce that Sascha Williams, who most recently was Senior Director and Head of Studio for Disney Interactive, has joined Unbounce as Chief Operating Officer. Sascha brings nearly 20 years experience in operations, including holding senior management positions with Disney and Electronic Arts. Equally important, Sascha lead operations at several startups, helping to bring some to successful exit. Additionally, he brings with him experience in global operations which will be a huge benefit as we expand globally.