Australian startup Envato has appointed Hichame Assi as chief executive, to take over from outgoing chief executive Collis Ta’eed.
Assi is the former chief executive of HotelsCombined.com and has spent much of his career working in e-commerce and travel.
Assi will formally take over the reins from Ta’eed at the end of October following a handover period.
In a statement, Ta’eed said Envato spent almost a year looking for a new CEO, both locally and overseas, after he decided to take a step back from the company he founded with wife Cyan in 2006.
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“We were looking for someone who is a digital native, customer-oriented, someone who could lead in a way that’s respectful of our values and purpose as a business, but also help us evolve for the next phase of our journey,” he said.
“Hichame stood out for his excellent values-alignment, and as someone who also brings with them a globally-minded perspective with experience leading businesses of our scale and complexity.”
In the same statement, Assi said Evanto’s values and “purpose-driven team” were drawcards for him.
“Envato stood out to me for its inspiring people and community-centric approach and I’m hoping to uphold that legacy while helping to scale it globally in this next phase,” he said.
Ta’eed announced his decision to step down as chief executive in August during Envato’s socially distanced birthday celebrations.
As a parting gift, he also gave a record $3.75 million to Envato employees through the startup’s 20% profit-sharing scheme.
Speaking to SmartCompany at the time, he said he plans to join his wife and Envato co-founder Cyan Ta’eed at her ethical chocolate venture Hey Tiger.
Ta’eed revealed he has been preparing for the change for some time — he told the business almost three years ago that he was planning to leave — but he knew the time was finally right when Envato hit the milestone of $1 billion in community earnings.
“I thought we should be working towards closing that off, and then bringing in a new CEO who then starts off the next period,” Ta’eed said.
But it was also important to take the time to find the right person “and not just rush into dropping the keys off with someone”, he said.
“When you’ve been in a place for a very long time, there are a lot of things that end up being connected to you.”