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Founder of language learning platform Babbel steps down as co-CEO to focus on board role

Babbel, the popular Berlin-based language learning service, today announced that its founder and current co-CEO Markus Witte is stepping down from his CEO role but that he will remain the executive chairman of the company’s board.

In addition to these leadership changes, the company also today announced that it has appointed Katherine Melchior Ray, who held previous executive positions with luxury consumer brands like Japan’s Shiseido, Hyatt Hotels, Tommy Hilfiger, Gucci and Louis Vuitton, as its new Chief Marketing Officer.

And while it’s unusual for U.S. founders to step back from their CEO role, especially as a company is hitting a new growth phase, Witter argues that going forward, being the chairman of the board will put him in the best position to ensure the company’s future going forward.

Those conflicts, Witte argues, made him less effective in the chairman role and in addition, he believes that Babbel has now reached a point where chairman and CEO just can’t be the same person anymore.

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