By Alex Heath
Another longtime Snap executive is jumping ship.
This time it’s Nick Bell, Snap’s VP of content, who told employees that he's leaving on Monday. Bell’s departure is part of a planned reorganization of Snap’s Content team, which is now under the leadership of newly-installed chief strategy officer, Jared Grusd.
Snap confirmed Bell's departure when reached by Cheddar on Monday.
“We are so grateful for Nick and everything he has built at Snap," CEO Evan Spiegel said in a statement. "It has been an incredible journey that began with our vision for what content could be on mobile. Today, more people are watching more premium content on Snap than ever before, and we couldn’t be more excited about the momentum we are seeing with Snap Originals. We will miss Nick, and we wish him all the best.”
Bell joined Snap ($SNAP) back in 2014 to lead the Discover section of the Snapchat app, which includes a mix of content produced by professional media outlets, celebrities, and exclusive shows. He reported directly to CEO Evan Spiegel and was one of a chosen few executives who represented the company publicly.
Rumors of Bell’s departure have been swirling in and around Snap for weeks. On Oct. 24, Snap announced that Grusd, the former CEO of Huffington Post, would be named chief strategy officer to oversee Discover along with other strategic initiatives. Grusd will report to Spiegel, effectively creating a layer of management between Bell and the CEO that didn't exist before.
"After nearly five years and a once in a lifetime ride, I have let Evan know that I am leaving Snap to take some time off to recharge before deciding on my next adventure," Bell said in a memo to employees on Monday.
A former News Corp executive, Bell grew Snap’s Discover section from initially including only a small list of outside media partners to featuring dozens of media partners, original shows, and curated “Our Stories” from Snapchat users around big news events. More recently, Snap has been experimenting with allowing outside partners to stream live video.
But Snap’s Discover section, which sits to the right of the camera when the app is first opened, has also been criticized lately for being cluttered and highlighting salacious, overtly sexualized content.
During Snap’s last earnings call with investors, Spiegel said there are “opportunities to improve” the layout of Discover and “potentially separate out that content in a way that makes sense for users.” A redesign of Discover is indeed in the works, people familiar with the matter told Cheddar.
Bell is the latest in a long string of executives to leave the embattled company since its initial public offering in early 2017. In a podcast interview with Recode published on October 25, Bell said he would "be at Snap as long as I feel super excited about the company and as long as I feel super excited about what I’m doing day to day."