When Anjali Sud became the CEO of Vimeo, she knew that her mission was to make the video service stand out in a crowd of better-known competitors like YouTube and Netflix.
At 34, Sud is the youngest chief executive officer of a company owned by media giant IAC. But, as Sud recently told Business Insider’s “Success! How I Did It podcast, she was not intimidated by the challenge.
“I think that when you are pushed outside of your comfort zone, you get off that learning curve so much faster and you develop as a leader so much faster,” she said to Business Insider.
Sud joined Vimeo as the Head of Global Marketing just three years before becoming the company’s CEO last July. Prior to that, she was a marketing director at Amazon. A staple on the list of young executives to watch in recent years, we’ve rounded up everything you need to know about Sud’s career.
She hit the ground running as CEO: Shortly after her promotion last summer, Sud presided over Vimeo’s acquisition of Livestream, a platform that allows content creators to (you guessed it!) livestream shows onto the Internet. The move, she said, was part of Vimeo’s strategy to become a home for creative talent. “Our overall strategy is to be a creator’s first home, repositioning Vimeo from a destination for watching videos to a technology company,” Sud told Crain’s.
She credits her entrepreneurial spirit to her father: Sud grew up in Flint, Michigan as the oldest of three siblings. Her father was the founder of a plastics recycling plant in the city and Sud has said that watching him work was a major influence on her own career path. “He raised me with this idea that businesses can help create jobs and have a positive force of influence on your local community,” she told Yahoo last fall.
Sud also still turns to her dad for advice about navigating the business world. As she told the Hollywood Reporter, “The advice he gave me most recently is, ‘Do what you should do and not what you can do.’ ”
The performing arts gave her an outlet as a child: Sud described herself to Yahoo as a quiet child who needed space to break out of her shell. “I was really shy as a kid. Acting, dancing and singing were a really nice outlet for me,” she said. But while she seriously considered pursuing the arts professionally, she ultimately returned to her entrepreneurial roots for practical reasons. But evidence of her creative roots can often be seen in her work with Vimeo, which unlike YouTube is ad-free. “We envision a world where every story can be beautifully told,” Sud told Fast Company’s Innovation Festival in November.
She keeps her eyes on the prize: When her alma mater Wharton Business School asked her to share her advice to other executives, Sud went straight to the point. “Protect your performance. Focus on consistently delivering results, and don’t let optics or politics get in the way,” she told Wharton Magazine.
It’s also nice to know that even tech superstars sometimes keep it simple when it comes to celebrating their big successes. Sud said that she and her husband celebrated her big Vimeo promotion in a very classic way — over a dinner of pizza and wine.