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Domo CEO Josh James steps down, John Mellor promoted

The analytics vendor's leadership change comes as it continues to add functionality to its platform and after it reported strong fourth-quarter and full-year revenue growth.

Domo has a new CEO.

Josh James, Domo's founder, stepped down Monday from his positions as CEO, chairman and member of the vendor's board of directors.

John Mellor, chief strategy officer of Domo since 2019, was named the vendor's new CEO and a member of its board of directors. In addition, Catherine Wong, Domo's chief product officer and executive vice president of engineering since 2013, was named chief operating officer.

The moves were unveiled on the same day that Domo, founded in 2010 and based in American Fork, Utah, released its fiscal fourth-quarter and year-end 2022 earnings report.

"It's John's boat to drive now, and I'm thrilled to watch him captain the ship," James said at the start of Domo's earnings call. "I obviously have an aligned and substantial interest in Domo doing well, and I'll continue to be the biggest curator."

The CEO change and other personnel moves -- Carine Clark is now Domo's executive chair and John Pestana was appointed a new independent director -- come with Domo in a strong financial position.

Growth trajectory

Total revenue increased 23%, from just under $57 million during the fourth quarter ended Jan. 31, 2021, to nearly $70 million during the most recent quarter. And full-year revenue also increased from 23%, going from $210 million at the end of January 2021 to $258 million at the end of January 2022.

Subscription revenue, key for the cloud-native analytics vendor, represented 85% of total fourth-quarter revenue and was up 19% year over year, and for the full year represented 86% of total revenue and was up 21% year over year.

Domo Sandbox screenshot
A Domo Sandbox screenshot displays previous versions of a project under development.

However, like many companies in their early years, Domo has yet to turn a profit and reported a net loss of $33.2 million during the fourth quarter and $102.1 million for fiscal 2022. For the sake of comparison, Amazon took nine years to become profitable, Tesla 10 years and Salesforce didn't consistently begin reporting profits for 17 years.

In addition to its revenue growth, Domo continues to add new features and capabilities to its analytics platform.

Most recently, the vendor added collaborative development capabilities in September 2021 and launched a more efficient version of Domo Everywhere, its embedded analytics platform, in June 2021.

Given that Domo -- which went public in 2018 -- is on a growth trajectory and continues to invest in its platform, James stepping down as CEO is not evidence of any problems with the vendor, according to Doug Henschen, an analyst at Constellation Research.

"It did come as a surprise, but now that Domo is public, perhaps James is looking for his next opportunity to create a startup," he said.

The economic uncertainty resulting first from the COVID-19 pandemic and now Russia's invasion of Ukraine have been difficult for corporate CEOs, and it would be no surprise if the stress of the past two years played a role in James' decision, Henschen continued.

"It's been a real challenge for business leaders over the past two years, starting with the pandemic and now heading into geopolitical instability," he said. "It's easy to imagine James looking for a fresh start."

Similarly, David Menninger, an analyst at Ventana Research, said James' departure was a surprise but not evidence of any problems at Domo.

"I hadn't heard any rumors of him stepping down," he said. "But I have to admit, I am always surprised when founders stay as long as James did."

The new regime

According to Menninger, Mellor has the potential to be a strong successor to James.

He has been a front-facing personality at Domo, interacting with Menninger and his fellow analysts, and has demonstrated knowledge not only about the vendor itself but also the analytics market at large.

"He's intelligent and knowledgeable about the market and has helped lead the company to this point in its growth," Menninger said. "The question will be what his style is as CEO. Different people have different leadership styles. Clearly, Josh James was a big personality. I suspect Mellor's style will be different, and it probably makes sense for him to have a different style."

Likewise, Henschen said Domo is in good hands with its new CEO and COO.

Both are highly competent executives, and they're getting well-deserved promotions and recognition.
Doug HenschenAnalyst, Constellation research

Wong has been at Domo since 2013 and has long guided Domo on the product side, he noted, and will "no doubt have a big and important role as COO."

"Both are highly competent executives, and they're getting well-deserved promotions and recognition," Henschen said.

Domo is scheduled to host its annual user conference, Domopalooza, March 23, and for the first time will have someone other than James as its leader.

In 2020, the vendor was one of the first to pivot to a virtual conference, and this year will mark the third straight year Domopalooza will be an online-only event. This year, however, it will be Mellor who will be front and center as CEO.

"I am extremely optimistic about our future and the horsepower of the entire Domo team," he said in a release about the personnel moves. "Digital transformation remains a massive opportunity and … we are well positioned to help customers improve the millions of decisions and processes throughout their organizations with data."

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