Dear Shutterstock customers, contributors, employees, and stockholders,
It has been an amazing privilege to lead this great company for 16 years as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. Thanks to our incredible team and the support of our loyal customers, contributors and stockholders, Shutterstock has grown into a premier player in our industry and reshaped how creative professionals get the content they need. Now, we’ve reached a pivotal juncture in our growth trajectory. I believe the time has come for me to transition my role from CEO to Executive Chairman of the Board and pave the way for Stan Pavlovsky, our current President and Chief Operating Officer, to become our next CEO. Stan will assume the role as of April 1st and will also join the Board at that time.
This was a decision made with the Board of Directors after extensive discussions, a ton of soul searching, and years of thinking through succession planning.
The fact of the matter is that our business has grown and evolved to a point where we would all benefit from a CEO that has a different set of skills than I have. We are ready for the next level and need the right person to take us there. Back in 2003, Shutterstock was born out of my own need for affordable marketing content as an entrepreneur in a 1-bedroom apartment in NYC. Since those early days, I have adapted over the years — taking on challenges and assuming roles that I never thought I would experience. As a result, I grew in ways I would have never thought I could — sometimes through mistakes made along the way which served as valuable learning experiences. I met and worked with so many amazing colleagues and together, we achieved an incredible number of milestones and successes that I will always be proud of.
Since Stan joined last year, we all have been impressed with his level of understanding of the business and the industry we operate in and the Board of Directors and I truly believe that he will make an extraordinary CEO. Stan has already displayed exceptional leadership, bringing passion and energy to his role and driving the Company with a focus on strategy and execution. Stan uses his experience in digital media, eCommerce and technology to ensure that we are customer-centric, while also addressing the changing world around us.
Shutterstock has a unique opportunity to continue to transform from its current core business into a comprehensive platform for creatives in new, unique, and disruptive ways. Stan has the ideal skill-set and mind-set to take our business to the next level and it is all of these qualities that gave us the confidence to elevate him to COO, President, and now CEO.
Although I’ll be stepping back from the day-to-day, I’m not going away! I will remain Chairman of the Board and continue to be a resource and advisor to Stan. As Executive Chairman and as the largest shareholder, I plan to continue to be involved in the strategy and direction of the business including yearly planning, regular off-sites, M&A, capital allocation, and other large initiatives. I will keep my desk in the office, my pop-in will still have my name on it, and I plan to be available and visible. You may not find me in the day-to-day management meetings anymore, but you can be sure that I will be available when the team needs me! And importantly, my passion for Shutterstock remains just as strong as when I founded the company 16 years ago.
We have achieved lots of milestones together since that time, almost too many to name but I would like to mention a few. We grew organically into an industry dominated by entrenched incumbents. We have licensed over a billion images to 2 million customers globally. Every second, 6 images are licensed through our platform. We have been profitable each and every year since 2003. Our disruptive culture propels us into new businesses and continues to strengthen our core.
Of all the milestones, the one I am most proud of is the over $1 billion dollars earned for our contributor community. It’s amazing to me to think about how those dollars have affected the lives and communities of over 1 million creators around the world. These contributors live in over 100 countries and provide millions of images, videos and music tracks to us every month. They embody the original passion I had in starting this business, making content available to everyone, everywhere.
While I’m excited to take on new projects, Shutterstock will remain at the forefront of my mind day in and day out. Shutterstock has a strong balance sheet giving us tremendous flexibility to innovate and bring to market new products and services that benefit our clients.
I couldn’t be more excited about the years to come for Shutterstock and to be a part of the next phase of success.
Jon Oringer, Founder and Executive Chairman (as of April 1st)