Quarles recently served as Vice-President of Instagram and joins Strava as CEO in place of Mark Gainey, who will stay on as Chairman of Strava’s board of directors. He's the second high-profile appointment for Strava from Instagram in the last three months, after Kevin Weil, Instagram's Head of Product, joined as a board member in February.
After a 15 month search to find Strava’s new CEO, Gainey revealed the reason for standing down was personal as well as a business decision: “James will add tremendous experience and energy to our team, while also providing me and Michael with more opportunities to focus on strategic initiatives that are vital to the company’s long-term success. As a single father, I am also deeply committed to my family. Bringing James on as Chief Executive allows me to continue to champion Strava's amazing team and community while being a more present dad to my boys.”
What does this suggest for the future of Strava?
Quarles comes in just as Strava roll out their Athlete Posts update, which will allow all users to share stories, photos and various other kinds of content with their followers, evidently to make it a more rounded social platform. This heavier focus on integrating social media into Strava makes their mission clearer – with Strava saying they want it to become “the place where athletes can have everything they love about their sport in one app.”
Although Strava have always put connectivity with other apps and platforms high on their agenda, in my opinion appointing a social media expert as CEO along with creating the Athlete Posts feature is further evidence that Strava ideally want their users to partake in all their social media activities ‘under one roof’, so to speak.
Are you an avid Strava fan? What do you think the future holds for the platform? Let us know in the comments section
Arriving at road.cc in 2017 via 220 Triathlon Magazine, Jack dipped his toe in most jobs on the site and over at eBikeTips before being named the new editor of road.cc in 2020, much to his surprise. His cycling life began during his students days, when he cobbled together a few hundred quid off the back of a hard winter selling hats (long story) and bought his first road bike - a Trek 1.1 that was quickly relegated to winter steed, before it was sadly pinched a few years later. Creatively replacing it with a Trek 1.2, Jack mostly rides this bike around local cycle paths nowadays, but when he wants to get the racer out and be competitive his preferred events are time trials, sportives, triathlons and pogo sticking - the latter being another long story.