Ancestry Hires Facebook's Marketplace Leader as CEO

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Deborah Liu

Incoming Ancestry CEO Deborah Liu. Image credit: Ancestry

Ancestry announced that Deborah Liu has been appointed as CEO of the family history and consumer genomics company. She will also serve as a member of the company’s Board of Directors when she takes over the top executive role on March 1.

“In the course of an extensive search, it became clear to all of us that Deb was the perfect next CEO of Ancestry,” Board Chairman Mark Thompson stated in a press release. “She has a proven track record of product innovation and deep experience in building global consumer technology platforms. She is an outstanding leader able to inspire and motivate teams to achieve their goals.”

Liu will join Ancestry from Facebook where she most recently created and led Facebook's Marketplace product group. She has also held leadership roles at eBay and PayPal and serves on the board of Intuit.

Outside of her day-to-day roles, Liu has established herself as a leader in the tech industry. She is seed investor and adviser to several start-ups and is deeply involved in promoting diversity and women in tech. To accomplish this mission she serves on the board of Expanding Your Horizons Network, which inspires girls to pursue STEM careers and she co-founded the Women in Product nonprofit. The Stanford and Duke University graduate was named one of the most powerful female engineers of 2017 by Business Insider.

“It’s an honor to join Ancestry. I’m excited to help craft the company’s next chapter, accelerating growth in Family History subscriptions and AncestryDNA by bringing the product to more people around the world,” Liu said. “I have tremendous admiration for Ancestry’s rich history and powerful mission to empower journeys of personal discovery to enrich lives. Finding and sharing our family history and understanding the challenges and triumphs our ancestors faced helps us feel a greater sense of connection and belonging and ultimately realize our shared humanity.”

Liu will take over at a tough time for the company as just last month it pulled its 15-month-old AncestryHealth offering, which aimed to sell customers genetic insights into their health. Additionally, this time last year, Ancestry was forced to lay off 6% of its workforce due to of a slowdown in the consumer DNA-testing market.

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