Last week, I decided to step down as CEO of Yoast. I am not leaving Yoast (and I am not leaving Joost either), I just don’t want to be the captain of the ship anymore. I am honored and proud to have led the company for the past years. But I am also excited to pass the baton to Thijs, who’s going to be the new CEO of Yoast. And, I am even more excited to start my new job at Yoast and to be able to do the things I enjoy most. In this post, I’ll share my reasons for stepping down at Yoast.

A big thank you!

Before I explain why I am stepping down, I want to express my gratitude. It has been an honor leading Yoast. I want to thank my amazing colleagues. I want to thank the wonderful WordPress community. And I want to thank Newfold Digital, who acquired Yoast recently and have been so very supportive to both the company as well as to me personally. Of course, I want to thank my dearest friends: Omar, Thijs, and Chaya for helping me to run Yoast these past years. You’ve been amazing. But most of all, I want to thank my husband, the founder of Yoast: Joost de Valk. You’ve been my friend, lover, and mentor and I couldn’t have done it without you. I love you so much.

Why step down?

Leading a company is hard work. Leading a company through a pandemic and through and acquisition is even more hard work. It’s rewarding, but exhausting at the same time. I am tired from all of it. However, Yoast is in this transition as it has recently been acquired by Newfold. Yoast needs a CEO that is on top of his/her game. Someone that’s full of energy. I am not that person at the moment.

The second reason to step down is that being a CEO isn’t the job that brings me the most joy. I am a creative person. I love to come up with new ideas, I love to write, brainstorm and execute crazy marketing ideas. Leading a large company, however, also means dealing with a lot of protocols, meetings, and regulations. That just isn’t my thing.

So what next?

I am going to be a creative marketing manager at Yoast. I’ll start my own blog series about content SEO. And, I’ll brainstorm with my colleagues to come up with new and exciting marketing ideas. Also, I’ll do a lot of coaching in order to help my amazing colleagues get even better in their jobs.

I’m going to work part-time (three days a week). Joost and I have four children and I really want to spend more time with them. I think we did a great job of combining a growing company with a growing family, but they are growing up so fast: I just don’t want to miss it! And, I have a million other dreams: I have an unpublished novel I would love to finish. In the future, I would also love to do some teaching (at universities for instance) in the field of online marketing.

A new beginning!

I can’t imagine my life without Yoast. It’s our baby. I see myself working here until I grow old. That being said, I want more in my life than just Yoast.

I am very proud of the things I have accomplished at Yoast. I’ve led the company through a pandemic (or at least halfway through), I’ve built a strong company culture and I’ve successfully completed our acquisition process. I can’t wait to see how Thijs will take Yoast to the next level. His drive, his intelligence, and his ambition will make him a good CEO. But I think his personality: super positive, always joking around, and always friendly and respectful, will make him a great CEO.

Published by Marieke van de Rakt

Marieke is partner at Emilia Capital. She is an investor, an entrepeneur at heart and a marketeer. She has a PhD in social sciences and is the mother of four kids. Next to that, she's a feminist, a ballerina and a diet coke addict.

5 replies on “Beginning a new chapter at Yoast”

  1. Doing what you love and feeling joy in your work is so important! I’m so happy you get to show leadership in this decision as well.

  2. Congratulations on your new role, Marieke!
    I appreciate your honesty and admire you for making this decision.
    You’re a great teacher, and I look forward to your SEO blog!

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