Deb Liu, former CEO of Meta and current CEO of Ancestry.com, spoke about the financial crisis on stage at. About Fortune Next Gen Next Gen Women Summit Tuesday.
Liu joined Ancestry, the world’s largest for-profit company, in 2021 as its new CEO just three months after investment management firm Blackstone bought the company and took it private for $4.7 billion. He was tasked with growing subscribers, a goal that required reaching more international customers and growing worldwide.
Today, the new CEO is facing new stumbling blocks. The company now has to deal with a growing market and the steady decline of tech companies, an environment Liu says is easy to navigate without some of the benefits of being popular.
“I think in uncertain times, it’s better to be a private company because you can invest in the future and not worry quarter by quarter what you’re answering,” Liu said on stage.
When it comes to layoffs in the tech industry, Liu believes that the companies that are “well prepared” are the ones that will “come out stronger on the other side.” He added that it is important for leaders to avoid “doing things” while preparing for whatever comes next.
Prior to his role at Ancestry, Liu was a vice president at Meta – which faced layoffs last week. He said it’s easy to blame those who hired him, but he said Meta and its products like WhatsApp and Instagram are “a very important part of the community.”
“There’s a lot going on in technology right now, there’s a lot of focus,” Liu said. “And it’s something that’s going to go on for a while.”
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