Why GoDaddy's Founder Bob Parsons Is Leaving The Company

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In one breath, GoDaddy filed for a $US100 million IPO. In the other it said that its famous, wealthy founder, Bob Parsons, has resigned as executive chairman.

Parsons is leaving the company to devote more time to his interests outside of GoDaddy, the company said in a press release. When companies make such statements, it often sounds like a euphemism for a power struggle that pushed the founder out.

But in this case, Parsons, age 63, was increasingly devoting more time to philanthropy through The Bob & Renee Parsons Foundation, the charitable foundation he and his wife launched in 2012.

And he’s been growing his investment company, YAM Worldwide, by leaps and bounds, too. YAM owns several Harley-Davidson dealerships, as well as golf and real estate investments. It has become a fairly serious enterprise for Parsons with 350 employees and $US160 million in annual revenues, the press release said.

Parsons, who is worth nearly $US2 billion according to Forbes’ billionaires list, sold the majority of GoDaddy back in 2011 to private equity investors KKR, Silver Lake, and TCV. That deal was worth an estimated $US2 billion. At that time, he stepped down from the CEO role.

According to the S1 filed today, he’s still GoDaddy’s largest shareholder with 28.1%. That compares to KKR and Silver Lake with 28% each.

GoDaddy isn’t his first success. In 1984 he started a software company in his basement, Parsons Technology. He sold it to Intuit for $US64 million, using the proceeds to start web-hosting provider GoDaddy.

Parsons is also a Vietnam vet who received three medals during his tour including the Purple Heart.

His foundation supports education and medical causes in the greater Phoenix area and in Haiti. It also supports wounded vets and has awarded more than $US46 million in grants, GoDaddy says.

In December, Parsons also signed the Giving Pledge, an initiative started by Bill Gates and Warren Buffet in which wealthy individuals vow to give more than half their money away to charity.

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