TheStreet

Snap Inc. (SNAP) shares extended declines Wednesday as investors reacted to sudden resignation of CFO Tim Stone after just eight months with the group, the latest in a series of top management departures from the instant messaging app creator.

Snap said Stone's departure, the third top executive to leave the firm in four months, was "not related to any disagreement with us on any matter relating to our accounting, strategy, management, operations, policies, regulatory matters, or practices", adding that Stone, a 20-year Amazon Inc. (AMZN) veteran who joined Snap last May, will stay on through the publication of the company's full years earnings on February 5. Snap also said those figures are likely to come in at the higher end of the company's previous guidance.

"We are finalizing our fourth quarter 2018 financial results and expect to report revenue and adjusted EBITDA results that are slightly favorable to the top end of our previously reported quarterly guidance ranges for each," Snap said in a filing to the Securities and Exchange Commission late Tuesday.

Snap shares fell 13.8% by the close of trading on Wednesday to change hands at $5.64 each, the lowest since January 3. The move would take the stock's decline from its IPO debut record of $24 a share past 75%. 

"While we are somewhat encouraged with the better-than-expected 4Q18 revenue and EBITDA results, we are more focused on the continued attrition of Snap's senior leadership and its overall culture," said JMP Securities analyst Ron Josey. "With 2019 being a key year across product (Android rebuild), advertisers (better auction dynamics as competition ramps), and improved cost controls, the ongoing leadership changes increase the risk profile of shares, in our view, as (daily active users) continue to be pressured."

TheStreet's tech expert, Eric Jhonsa, noted the daily active user decline last year, citing stiff competition from Facebook's (FB) rival services (particularly Instagram Stories) and an app redesign gone wrong.

"Revenue growth has also failed to live up to pre-IPO hopes, as Snap battles Facebook and Alphabet/Google (GOOGL) for digital ad dollars while having much less scale and user data than either," Jhonsa argued. "And though Spiegel declared in a late-September memo that Snap aims to be profitable for the whole of 2019, the company's cash burn remains heavy for now."