I am the new CEO of Yoast! Wow. That’s so very awesome. I am really proud to take the lead in this amazing company. For some time now, we have been running Yoast with a team of four partners. Besides myself, we have Omar Reiss, our CTO, an unbelievably smart visionary. Michiel Heijmans, our COO, is hands-on, a genuine people-person. And of course, we have Joost de Valk, genius and founder of Yoast. He will take the position of CPO now. We’ll remain a team of four. But we are reshuffling the cards. And I get to be queen!

Finally, a job title that fits

For the last year or so, I was unable to explain to people what I was doing at Yoast. It was just a long list of tasks. I could not find a job title that fit. I think CEO fits the best. Glad to take that position!

When I started working at Yoast 5 years ago, I founded Yoast Academy, our online courses platform. That was my main thing for a while. But two years ago, we hired the very talented Jesse van de Hulsbeek and he’s been running Academy solo for over a year now. So I was already focussing on so many other awesome things: I ran our marketing department, started a research team, and got a project managers team up and running. My official title was CSO (Chief Strategy Officer) as deciding and planning how the company would grow and evolve was also my domain.

In many ways, I was already the CEO. Among the four of us, I am the one most thinking ahead. I am the one most concerned with company culture. I am the one who’s often leading the way. That does not mean I decided upon the route though. That’s something we do among the four of us. Still, I was the one proposing to my partners that we needed to make decisions.

What will change at Yoast?

I don’t think there’ll be big changes inside our organization. Things will pretty much keep running the way they were always running. Due to Joost’s new second job, he’ll have less time to spend working at Yoast. Omar, Michiel and I will divide those tasks amongst the three of us. Now that my role is official, I’ll get that big corner office. I’ll be the chair in our meetings. But for the most, I’ll keep focussing on my four teams (Academy, Project Management, Research, and Blog) and on strategizing and leading the way, just as I was doing for the past year.

What will change outside of Yoast?

I am very curious to what extent people will treat me any different now that I am the CEO of Yoast. For a lot of people outside of Yoast, it was not very clear what my role at Yoast was. The job title of CEO will perhaps be a door opener for me. Maybe I get to hang out with the cool and important people now ;-). To be honest, that’s not my strength though. My focus was always turned inwards, towards our company. I am certain it will remain that way. I am just not as outspoken as Joost is, and I do not have his social media presence. I’ll do this CEO-thing in my very own way.

Onwards it is

Years ago, Joost said to me: ‘One day, you’ll be CEO.’ I did not believe him back then, I did not think I would be able to fill such a position. But today, I am very confident. I am totally capable of leading Yoast. In fact, I have been doing this for some time now. So let’s get on with it!

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.

19 replies on “I am the new CEO of Yoast!”

    1. Thank you! so nice to hear that! I’m going to do my best to get our company to remain that way.

  1. I love your ending paragraph of “Onwards it is”. You are certainly more than capable and should feel confident. You and the team will be successful and the community cheers you all on. Congrats!

  2. Hi Marieke, you have the lovely dutch characteristic of speaking plainly, without “bigging it up”. Amazingly I’ve been to Nijmegen, and I always enjoy visits to Holland. One of our author/partners lives in Apeldoorn, so I am regularly treated to the Dutch sense of humour! And I’m looking forward to reading your articles.


  3. Now i found that woman on the poster of Yoast plugin . after visiting joost de valk . i found you profile its great see your blog.
    i hope you will launch more plugins like Yoast in future for wordpress user like me
    best of luck for career .

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