Strava appoints YouTube exec as new CEO hopes to 'take it to the next level'

Michael Martin will lead the exercise app from 2 January 2024

black and white portrait of Michael Martin, the new CEO of Strava
(Image credit: Strava)

Exercise app Strava has announced the appointment of YouTube executive Michael Martin as the company’s new CEO. 

The news comes 10 months after co-founder and CEO Michael Horvath decided to resign from his role, writing in February that Strava “needs a CEO with the experience and skills to help us make the most of this next chapter.” 

Horvath continued at the company’s helm, but will now pass control to Martin, who will take over on 2 January 2024. 

“I’m thrilled to join Strava,” said Martin, who currently serves as the general manager of YouTube’s shopping unit. “My experience has shown me that motivating people to become more active is a massive and universal challenge. I am in awe of what Michael, Mark [Gainey] and the Strava team have built. 

“As a member of the Strava community, it is a dream to join this company and have the opportunity to take it to the next level in service of athletes everywhere.”

Martin has previously held roles at Disney, NBC Universal and Nike, where he worked on the lifestyle brand’s fitness portfolio. 

Speaking about the new appointment, outgoing CEO Horvath said he was confident the company had found a “leader”. 

“I am incredibly proud of what the Strava team has accomplished, especially during the past four years during which we built our subscription with the needs of our community in mind and strengthened our foundation for future growth,” Horvath said. 

“In Michael Martin, I am confident we found a leader I can pass the baton to and who can build Strava’s momentum even further. I look forward to supporting him as Executive Advisor to the CEO.”

Horvath first launched Strava in 2008 with fellow Harvard University alumnus Gainey, who initially assumed the role of CEO. Horvath then took over in 2013, but left for family reasons four years later. He then returned to the position in 2019. 

Despite Strava’s success in gathering users, today counting over 100 million, it did not make a profit until 2020. 

In recent years, the company has made headlines for laying off 15% of its workforce, and sparking confusion with price hikes

The exercise app launched a direct messaging feature earlier this month. 

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