At the recent Le Web conference in London, I had a great lunch with Maria Molland, the wicked smart business executive who was tapped by e-commerce startup Fab to run its European operations in April last year. I came away impressed by the way she was running the Berlin office for Fab, which at last count employed more than 250 people, and the plans for further growth she outlined for me.
In a somewhat surprising move, Molland just announced on Facebook that she’s moving back to San Francisco – she’s previously worked for companies like Disney, Yahoo and Dow Jones – and that she is effectively departing Fab to start her own business.
Molland stopped short of saying what her plans for the new company are, only that these are ‘exciting times’. Molland lived and worked in Europe for seven years.
Fab co-founder and CEO Jason Goldberg quickly jumped in to publish a comment on her Facebook post, saying Molland can “count on him as an investor” and:
“Tons of love and appreciation and thanks. Fab is where it is today because of you. Thank you. Love you.”
This suggests that there isn’t any animosity involved with her departure, but the move appears to be somewhat abrupt, and follows some rumblings about the working conditions at fast-growing Fab (which were openly discussed by Goldberg in a subsequent blog post).
Fab has raised more than $300 million in funding and was valued at over $1 billion in its last round.
The company recently announced that it is slated to open up its own Fab-operated warehouse in The Netherlands before the end of this year to serve its 3.5 million European customers. Fab sells products in 27 countries and roughly 40 percent of its sales today occur outside the United States.
It will be interesting to see what Molland is up to next, and how Fab will fill up the vacuum that’s left in Europe because of her decision to quit the company.