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Marc Stolzman
Marc Stolzman

Zulily CFO Marc Stolzman plans to step down from the Seattle online retailer early next month, an announcement that comes as the company reported fourth quarter and 2014 financial results that disappointed Wall Street.

“On behalf of the board of directors, I’d like to thank Marc for helping us over the last two years in building our strong financial organization and helping us transition us from a private company to a public company,” said CEO Darrell Cavens in an analyst call today.

In a follow-up question on the call, Cavens shared few details about Stolzman’s departure, saying that the CFO did a “great job” and that it was simply the “right time to make a transition.”

Zulily plans to start a search for a new CFO immediately.

Shares of Zulily are down 20 percent today in after-hours trading, following the earnings announcement.  The shares are now trading at about $15 per share, down from a peak of $68 per share 12 months ago.

Just last month, Stolzman appeared at the “Guess the Dow” luncheon in Seattle on behalf of Zulily, saying that he was attracted to the online retailer because it was trying to create “an entirely different retail landscape.”

“We are creating something where the brand means different things to different people,” said Stolzman, who previously worked at Starbucks, Blue Nile and Zumiez. “We offer a different experience to customers from other e-commerce and bricks-and-mortar players, and we are really trying to separate ourselves by enhancing the difference, instead of trying to run away from it.”

Even so, Zulily has hit serious headwinds in recent months. In a conference call with stock analysts today, Zulily co-founder Mark Vadon said he was disappointed with gross margins during the fourth quarter, citing the inability to bring its fulfillment centers up to speed as quickly as they would have liked.

“We have been growing so fast that, at times, we’ve let execution be more wobbly than it should be,” said Vadon, noting that the company plans to fix those issues in 2015.

As part of that, Zulily plans to cool its hiring practices, with Cavens saying that it will not need to hire as aggressively as it has done so in the past. Zulily also said it plans to close its U.K. facility, fulfilling orders from its U.S operations, a bet that the company hopes will drive more sales.

The company announced 2014 revenues of $1.2 billion, a milestone that comes just five years after the company was founded. It also announced fourth quarter revenue of $391.3 million, up 52 percent over the same period last year but well below analysts’ expectations.

Previously on GeekWire: Zulily hits $1.2B in 2014 sales, plans $250M stock repurchase program as shares slump more than 20%

 

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