Hi Instructors! Wanted to share an update from Udemy on a change in our leadership. Read more here:
Thanks for the news, James.
For those of us heavily invested in Udemy as a livelihood, it seems that this serious of an announcement would deserve / demand more than 3 terse sentences.
You know? Some basic questions everyone has. (or should have)
Congrats for the new Leadership but I have the same thoughts as Dave too. Particularly on the third point.
Looking forward to hear from the Udemy team on this soon.
Great questions, @DaveEspino. We believe that Gregg is the right leader to help us continue to scale and grow around the world. We’re excited about working with Gregg as he brings over 30 years of experience growing companies across a broad range of industries. This is his 7th CEO role, and he previously held CEO positions at Stella & Chewy’s, Futuredontics, Netquote, and Teleflora.
Udemy’s mission continues to be improving lives through learning, and we will continue to invest in making Udemy the best platform for instructors to teach the world. Our vision continues to be creating a world where every student can always find a teacher, and you can feel confident in our commitment to our instructors. We constantly seek and respond to feedback from students and instructors, and will continue to do so going forward.
We look forward to a future where continued growth creates more opportunities for students to learn and more opportunities for instructors to be rewarded for their knowledge. Gregg is excited to meet many of you at upcoming instructor events!
I also agree with Dave Espino. From an instructor's point of view, Udemy has been doing very well and under Kevin's leadership I believe we gained something like twenty million new students. I am sure that figure isn't exactly correct, but... we all certainly hope that the growth curve continues and the marketing machine that has been created is reinforced and not diminished.
So, the "why" questions are certainly important to all of us instructors.
If the new CEO is reading this, and I certainly hope he is, I would like to say that I, and I am sure all instructors, welcome him and are certainly willing to do anything we can to help move Udemy forward to one hundred million students and beyond!
Hey all — awesome to see all of you in the new community!
I wanted to weigh in here, because obviously bringing on a new CEO is a big change. Kevin’s leadership took Udemy to a new level, and we’re excited for Gregg to grab the baton and keep us moving forward. Gregg brings to the table a wide range of experience (building and scaling brands across consumer and B2B businesses), as well as a willingness to get his hands dirty to help Udemy, our instructors, and our students succeed. But the more things change, the more they’ll stay the same — our commitment to your success is unwavering, and you shouldn’t expect any major changes to our strategy or your experience as an instructor as a result of this change.
We’re eager to introduce all of you to him directly. A group of local instructors already got to meet him last night at our community launch event here in San Francisco, but I’ll coordinate an AMA with Gregg in early March once he’s had a chance to get settled (it’s only day #2, after all!).
Thanks for the reply, Frank. I hope you are right not to expect any major changes in strategy. I guess that says that we are pretty satisfied with the current direction and results. There is that "trust" thing that we all value a lot!
Thanks, Frank! Looking forward to continue success with the new CEO. Wishing him (and Udemy!) all the best,
I'm sure they would have gone through some selection process to choose the new ceo. A bit of business acumen on what the teaching landscape is offering and alot of vision on where it will go on the next 3 years is plenty qualified
Agree @DaveEspino , I really liked the last CEO and met him on day two as he joined a meeting I was in on and came in to introduce himself.
Hopefully we will all get to meet him soon as we are all in this together. It would be great to hear his vision we move forward together.
Welcome to the new CEO!
I think the main concern I have, is that the culture of Udemy is maintained, by continuously changing the CEO we lose the experience of the leaders that have guided Udemy through the good times and bad times, so hopefully Udemy have mechanism's in place to ensure continuity of vision and purpose (i.e. don't be changing the Instuctor Revenue share), is kept in place.
On the positive side, I think a fresh pair of eyes can help us move forward in areas like the Review System, which is an a truly terrible state at the moment in my opinion and also in seeing new opportunities that a hard baked organisational culture can miss.
So welcome to the new CEO, hopefully his experience will lead to positive changes and a continuation of core values, whilst addressing some of the current issues for students and instructors like the Review System and the dirty data it currently delivers. :)
Thanks for the note, @MarkTimberl006.
A CEO transition is a big change, but for whatever it's worth, I'm highly confident that Udemy's vision, mission, and culture will emerge stronger on the other side. How can I be so confident? Well, Udemy has actually had several CEO transitions over the years -- different leaders for different chapters of growth -- and each time the culture has not only endured, but strenthened. In fact, this is my 4th CEO during my 6 years at Udemy, and while transitions are always delicate, my experience has been that Udemy's strong mission and culture are actually the critical ingredients that have made those transitions (and our business) successful.
Our shared mission to improve lives through learning is a powerful cohesive force, and it's created a culture that is strong and very much decentralized. Our culture (both within the company and our shared culture in the global community of instructors and students) isn't the product of a top-down mandate, but rather a resilient federation of passionate individuals. It's a culture that's foundation is bottoms-up -- a shared value system that's reinforced with daily decisions -- one of individual humility but collective pride, mission-inspiration and results-obsession, an earnest effort to create a space for everyone to be their authentic self, a hunger to always be learning (and teaching!), and above all a deep belief in that knowledge (both shared and earned) can and will change lives. When you start with that core, it's much bigger than any one individual.
You're certainly also right that with any leadership transition comes a fresh set of eyes, and I'm definitely excited to have Gregg's fresh (and experienced) take on the business. In the meantime, I'm always open to a conversation to get your perspective on specific opportunities and pain points (including review), so feel free to drop me a note if you'd like to chat.
I will make one final (for me) comment on this topic.
I have consulted with around one hundred corporations and watched many CEO changes and their impact. Some corporate boards get into the habit of repeatedly seeking the white night, the Lone Ranger, who rides in from the outside in the hope that he or she will make everything better. They do this rather than looking inside at senior executives who have helped the company grow and who are part of the culture, therefore, more likely to maintain that culture.
This pattern very often results in discouragement and the loss of highly competent senior members of the executive team. The more companies look outside for the next CEO, by definition, the worse job they are doing of developing and promoting talent internally. Having met most or all members of your senior team, it is my hope that when the next search occurs for a CEO, they will give priority to looking at the talent within, rather than going outside.
These are exciting times in the Udemy world, just passed the 30 Million student milestone and going strong.
This is the next phase and the next stepping stone to continued success, so welcome to the party Gregg.... wishing you, Udemy, students and all other instructors a successful future together!