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Foursquare Co-Founder Stepping Down, Business Continues as Usual

Naveen Selvadurai, co-founder of Foursquare, announced in a blog post this weekend that he will be leaving the company, sticking around only as an adviser and on the company board.

Also this week, the company announced a partnership with TIME for the 2012 Republican and Democratic conventions. The company also has new partnerships with VH1 and Walgreens. And just today, the company said it will be launching a “new function” as this year’s SXSW conference and partnering with a number of concerts that are taking place.

When a company leader leaves, it’s a big deal. Here, Selvadurai seems to be heading out without making too many ripples in the pool. These partnerships indicate that business is continuing, more or less, as usual even if there were some festering behind-the-scenes frustrations.

“To be fair, this is not uncommon for start-ups at all. Twitter went through the mother of all contentious partings — twice, in fact — in an ongoing battle among its founders. Tech is rife with similar examples, most often of lesser drama,” writes AllThingsD. Nevertheless, it might be a good time to revisit the whole “CEO departure” issue, just in case.

Back in September, Yahoo’s CEO Carol Bartz was dismissed and proceeded to explode like a volcano, using the “f” word and calling people “doofus.”

Part of the problem was a lack of respect. Our expert at the time, Ed Flowers, EVP and MD of DHR International, emphasized the proper way to handle a dismissal.

“Every employee, whether they’re at the lowest level of an operation or the very highest level should be treated with dignity and respect,” he told us.

Also helping in this case is the fact that Foursquare has things in the pipeline that are just as newsworthy as Selvadurai’s departure and still speak to the health of the company.

“There are clearly plenty of comings and goings at the three year old New York tech darling. The question is whether all of these moves are indicative of something more substantial,” says CNET, which finishes its article by saying the company won’t look the same in 2012 as it did in 2011.

That’s optimistic. A digital company shouldn’t be stagnant. Moreover, every company should be prepared to move on seamlessly if and when there’s a major change in leadership. It’s at these times when investors, customers, and other stakeholders would expect a hiccup that you can really impress them with how easy you make change look.

[image: Naveen Selvadurai, via Capitaldigitale, Flickr]

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