Sarah Friar is leaving Square to become CEO of social network Nextdoor

11 Oct 2018

Outgoing Square CFO and incoming Nextdoor CEO Sarah Friar. Image: Square

Friar had been tipped to be the next CEO of Square. Now, she is likely to lead Nextdoor to IPO.

Twitter and Square CEO Jack Dorsey has confirmed that his longstanding deputy, Irishwoman Sarah Friar, is leaving to become CEO of Nextdoor, the neighbourhood social network.

“I’m saddened by the news. I was unrealistically expecting to work with Sarah well into our 90s,” Dorsey wrote in a note to employees that he posted on Twitter. “Unrealistic, because I knew of Sarah’s lifelong ambition to run her own company.”

Friar, who has been the CFO of Square – Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey’s other multibillion-dollar business – is arguably one of the most powerful Irish people in the Silicon Valley tech scene, and the business mind behind what is currently a fintech that processes $70bn worth of payments a year.

Hailing from Northern Ireland, Friar was named Financial Woman of the Year in 2014. Last year, we reported that she was also appointed to the board of team messaging service Slack, which is changing the world of work as we know it.

Strong leadership

Woman in black dress addresses a crowd from a podium.

Square CFO Sarah Friar addressing a Ladies Who Launch Dublin event. Image: Square

Friar was often cited as an example of the strong leadership that Dorsey surrounded himself with, enabling him to run two publicly listed companies, and she was tipped to become the next CEO of Square.

Since Square went public in 2015, its stock price grew to five times its initial value. Since the news of Friar’s departure emerged last night (10 October), its stock fell 9pc in trading.

Friar’s new company, Nextdoor, is a social networking service for neighbourhoods based in San Francisco. Founded in 2008, it requires users to use their real names and physical addresses, and visibility is determined by geographic neighbourhood.

The network is live in the US, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, Ireland and the UK.

It is likely Friar will play a pivotal role in helping Nexdoor to grow internationally ahead of an anticipated IPO.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years