Meow Wolf co-founder and CEO Vince Kadlubek announced through a blog on the company's website yesterday evening that he would be stepping down from the role of CEO and into the new position of executive advisor. The CEO job will reportedly be filled by a group of Meow Wolf's top employees: Chief Financial Officer Carl Christensen, formerly of investmentbank.com; Chief Content Officer Jim Ward, formerly of LucasArts and the Phoenix Symphony; and Chief Creative Officer Ali Rubinstein, formerly of Disney.
"We closed our Series A round [of fundraising] back in May, and the company has shifted into a phase of execution, and my energy and my leadership are not directed towards solid execution, to be honest," Kadlubek tells SFR. "We need to get project focused and we need to get execution focused, and my mind is in the clouds thinking five years down the line, 10 years down the line, and it was distracting. We now have a team around us at the top of the company that are very capable and, in a lot of ways, more industry experienced, more professionally experienced."
Kadlubek says that in their new roles, the so-called officer group will now report directly to Meow Wolf's board of directors, as will Kadlubek. He will no longer receive reports from department heads in Santa Fe and other upcoming projects in Denver, Las Vegas, Phoenix and Washington DC, nor will he be involved in day-to-day decision-making.
"I anticipate I'll still be in a lot of the same rooms and meetings," Kadlubek adds, "but as a support mechanism, as one voice of opinion rather than the person making decisions."
As for what a three-person CEO position might look like, Kadlubek says it's not unprecedented in the corporate world, and that little should change for Meow Wolf and its employees.
"The entire company already reports up to these three officers," Kadlubek explains. "It functionally doesn't shift anything that's going on in the company from a reporting structure."
It's an interesting shift for the company to be sure. With a wage theft claim in September, a discrimination suit filed in July and layoffs hitting employees more than once this year, Kadlubek's changing role could be cause for concern. He is adamant, however, that his new position is about what's best for the future of Meow Wolf.
"We're in the best position we've ever been in, the most solid and stable that we've ever been," he says.