Freshworks founder quits as CEO, stock tanks 25% in US

CHENNAI: Freshworks founder Girish Mathrubootham has stepped down as CEO of the Nasdaq-listed software firm. He made his decision public early on Thursday, surprising investors and employees alike.
Dennis Woodside, the company’s president, has been named the new CEO effective May 1, while Girish will take over as executive chairman and focus on product development.Freshworks stock plunged 25% in extended trading hours in the US.
Amid the disruption in software business (SaaS) brought by the new wave of AI adoption, Girish said his focus will be on building new products, including AI-based offerings. He said the decision is not sudden, but succession planning is something he’s been discussing with the board for a few years.
This next phase has been charted with hopes that Dennis could lead the team while Girish focuses on long-term product vision, AI strategy and innovation, according to market filings with the US SEC. The company introduced a customer service chatbot ‘Freddy AI’ last year and is working to monetise it.
“A couple of years ago, I started talking with our board about my longer-term plans for Freshworks. I shared that when the time is right, I would like to shift my focus to our long-term product vision and invest in our presence in India,” he said in a separate message to his team. Going forward, Girish is expected to be more active in the Chennai office and working closely with the India team. Founded in 2010, Freshworks was listed on Nasdaq in Sept 2021, making it the first Indian SaaS firm to trade on a US exchange.

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