Elissa Fink, the marketing leader who helped Tableau Software grow from ambitious tech startup to international public company with more than $877 million in annual revenue, is leaving after 11 years with the Seattle-based data visualization company.
Fink, a longtime fixture in the region’s tech community, informed the company this week of her plan to retire as chief marketing officer effective Nov. 16, according to an SEC filing made public Friday afternoon. Tableau confirmed Fink’s planned departure in a statement to GeekWire.
“As many in the Seattle community know, Elissa Fink helped grow Tableau from a startup to a global brand that has helped millions of people see and understand data,” the statement said. “After 11 years leading the team from the center of universe (Fremont!), Elissa has decided to retire and focus on her family and personal endeavors. We’ll miss her dearly and wish her the best in her new life phase.”
Fink was an instrumental early leader at Tableau. She joined the company as its vice president of marketing in 2007, when it was still a small startup, and led every element of its marketing as it nearly doubled in revenue each year.
In her bio, Fink describes the moment she first encountered Tableau at her previous company. “After just a few minutes using the product, I was getting answers to questions that were taking my previous company’s programmers weeks to create,” she noted. “It was instantly obvious that Tableau was on a special mission with something unique to offer the world. I just had to be a part of it.”
She became the CMO four years later, continuing to lead the company through its launch onto the public market under prior CEO and current chairman Christian Chabot, and its transition to the cloud under current CEO Adam Selipsky, the former Amazon Web Services executive who succeeded Chabot as CEO in 2016.
In a 2016 installment of GeekWire’s Working Geek feature, Fink displayed her fun, no-nonsense approach to the job in an explanation of how she runs meetings: “Start with a laugh or some reminder that we’re all just people working together trying to make something happen,” she said. “Then get right to it.”
Fink is just one of several leadership changes at Tableau in the recent months. In May, the company hired Concur CTO Mark Nelson to serve as its EVP of product development; In June, it hired Mark Jewett from Microsoft to lead product marketing.
Tableau says it has started its search for a new chief marketing officer to succeed Fink in the role.