Mitú founder and President Beatriz Acevedo and CEO Herb Scannell stepped down from their roles on Monday, investor Mark Suster told TheWrap.
“Mitu is doing 10s of millions in revenue and has grown rapidly over the last several years, but the market has very clearly told us — and not just us, Buzzfeed, Vice and other people — that the market values profitability over growth at all costs,” Mark Suster of Mitú investor UpFront Ventures exclusively told TheWrap.
Suster said both executives will remain advisors, and founder Acevedo will keep her board seat while she pivots to social activism and developing Latina and Latino leadership in business and politics. Scannell prioritized Mitu’s intellectual property and is ready to move on, Suster added.
An insider explained that Scannell’s focus had been on developing movies and television series to serve Mitu’s vast and engaged audience, but this required capital that so far Mitu has not raised, and more time than the company has in a brutal environment for digital media.
The insider told TheWrap that there is no immediate plan to replace the CEO.
An interim executive leadership team has been installed in their absence, namely consisting of heads in sales and finance, Suster said. An unknown number of layoffs accompanied the change in leadership on Monday.
“Beatriz has loyally served the company for five-plus years, and will remain an active board member and advisor, but will no longer be day-to-day. Beatriz is the heart and soul of Latina entrepreneurship and media. She wants to focus on in her life and her career is social activism, building social platforms, championing women as senior leaders, championing latinos and Latinas in leadership and government roles,” said Suster.
“We made a decision as a board that we want to focus on how we get to profitability as fast as we can,” he added.
Scannell had joined the Latino-influenced digital media company in September 2017. He’d previously worked at Nickelodeon, where he oversaw the launch of several shows, including “Rugrats” and “SpongeBob SquarePants.” Scannell had pointed to Acevedo as a selling point when he joined Mitú last September, calling her a “dynamo.”
Mitú has raised more than $40 million from investors including Comcast and Verizon since launching in 2012. Under Acevedo, the company aimed to hit Latino millennials and Gen Z’ers on several platforms, including Snapchat, Netflix, and Facebook Watch.
Exclusive: Read Beatriz Acevedo’s letter to her staff:
Dear mitú familia,
After 7 years at mitú, the time has come for me to shift my role. Effective immediately, my employee status will change as I will be transitioning out of my day-to-day President role, but you will continue to see me in the office participating both as an active founder and a fully engaged board member and champion of the company and each of you.
Please know this is fully my decision that I had communicated in writing to the board on June 14thof last year, but I was asked to stay until we closed our Series D funding.
As many of you know, I have my own deeply personal and professional heartfelt dreams that I’ve been wanting to explore for a while and with the horrifying state of our country, I feel the responsibility to become a louder voice and a more engaged leader in our community.
I’m a firm believer in the signs the universe sends you, and in May my son Diego had his Bar Mitzvah (like a Quinceanera for Jewish boys at 13). Anyway, his Torah portion (the portion in the bible he had to read and interpret) talked about the Jubilee and Sabbatical years under Jewish law. Where every 50 years a Jubilee year and every 7 years a Sabbatical year happened and the community had to give back everything they had accumulated in excess over the years and share it with the rest of the community in order to make sure everyone went back to having economic equality. As I heard him preach at the Temple why it was important to reset and give back every 7 and 50 years, I could not help think that 7 years at mitú, and coming up on 50 years of life, was a sign for me to go on and do more in my community and contribute in any way I possibly can to help close the gap to economic equality and provide greater access for our people.
As I enter this important personal milestone and new decade in my life in a few weeks, I plan on also taking a more active leadership role as President of my family’s foundation (Fundación Acevedo), which for the past 30 years has focused on providing scholarships for talented Mexican kids in Baja who don’t have the financial means to get a higher education. I plan on opening a chapter in the U.S. this same year.
My father who was not born into any kind of privilege, had to clean toilets and work 3 jobs to be able to put himself through law school, went on to become a very prominent attorney, writer, activist and philanthropist and left his entire life savings to his foundation to make sure kids like him could have easier access and opportunity than what he had. So, as you can imagine, it’s personal and very important for me to continue with his dream and carry on his legacy, that unfortunately while working at mitú, I’ve had little time to do since he passed away 18 months ago.
On an even more personal level, I’m also really looking forward to spending more time with my now teenage kids Isa and Diego, to take full advantage of the few remaining years that I have with them before they leave for college. When we started mitú they were only 6 years old, and I have missed a lot of important milestones in their lives that they constantly remind me about.
To them, mitú has been the rival that takes their mom away on constant trips and long work days and nights… that often extends to weekends and even family trips. I talk a big game about mentoring the next generation of Latino leaders and I need to start with my own kids at home, who proudly represent the 200% generation that we cater to and have so much hope for in the future of our country.
But enough about my family… I want to thank all of you for your dedication, your commitment and most importantly for believing and being a part of our mitú dream. What we do matters to millions of people in our community, who for the first time, now see themselves represented with authenticity and dignity in media. This is why we constantly hear comments from them like “Where have you been all of my life?”or “Finally a brand that gets me!”So, whether your work continues here or somewhere else, I encourage you to continue to fight a good fight for representation, for visibility, for inclusion and for the access that our community deserves and has earned with their hard work to be equal to everyone else. Our country and our people our counting on us and need us now more than ever.
Days like today, when we are challenged to make tough decisions, are never easy, and bring out a lot of emotions in all of us… not just for people who are transitioning from our company, but also for the people who are staying. Change is for the most part painful, and it’s ok and normal to be emotional and have all kinds of feelings, that is what makes us human, so allow yourself to have them, and don’t let anyone tell you it’s not professional to be “emotional”.
For anyone who is leaving, I’m sure our paths will cross many times and please know that I will forever be grateful to all of you and will always be here proudly rooting for your success.