Robinhood Expands Its Board of Directors in Order to Advance Its IPO Push.
Appointments include former World Bank President Robert Zoellick and the bank's first female director, Paula Loop of PricewaterhouseCoopers.
Robinhood Markets Inc. appointed three new directors to its board of directors on Tuesday, laying the groundwork for what is expected to be one of the year's most anticipated initial public offerings.
Jon Rubinstein, a former Apple Inc. and Bridgewater Associates executive, Paula Loop, a PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP partner, and Robert Zoellick, a former World Bank President, are the new Robinhood board members. The appointments of Messrs. Rubinstein and Zoellick take effect immediately, while those of Ms. Loop take effect on June 17.
Robinhood's popularity soared this year as a result of market rallies in meme stocks such as GameStop Corp. and cryptocurrencies such as dogecoin. Robinhood's financial performance improved significantly in the first quarter, with the company's largest revenue source more than tripling. The Wall Street Journal previously reported that the company filed confidential paperwork with the Securities and Exchange Commission in March with the intention of publicly listing its shares as early as June.
However, Robinhood's operations and corporate governance did not scale in lockstep with its user base, forcing the company to accelerate its growth. For example, it struggled this year to manage a deluge of customer service requests, many of which were in response to its surprise decision in January to restrict trading in certain high-flying stocks. Robinhood has committed to more than doubling its customer support staff this year.
Until Tuesday's appointments, Robinhood's board of directors resembled that of a startup, rather than that of a multibillion-dollar, soon-to-be-public company. Two of the four seats were held by co-founders Vlad Tenev and Baiju Bhatt, while the remaining two were held by Robinhood's venture capital investors. The Menlo Park-based company lacked a female director, which would have violated a 2018 California law requiring all publicly traded companies with a California headquarters to have at least one female director.
The new directors have extensive experience serving on the boards of directors of public companies. Mr. Rubinstein serves on the board of directors of Amazon.com Inc., while Mr. Zoellick serves on the board of directors of Twitter Inc.
Robinhood's IPO preparations also include the launch of a new system that enables users to access new listings, including its own, on terms comparable to those available to institutional investors. Last month, the company launched that platform with the announcement that medical-apparel startup Figs Inc. would allocate up to 1% of its initial public offering to individual investors via Robinhood.