July 24, 2015 / 5:10 PM / in 4 years

Airbnb hires Blackstone CFO Tosi

(Reuters) - Airbnb Inc, the fast-growing online home rental website operator, said it hired Blackstone Group LP Chief Financial Officer Laurence Tosi as its finance head.

A man holds a sign of Airbnb in New York January 20, 2015. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton

The position was vacant since Andrew Swain left Airbnb last September.

Tosi’s appointment is likely to put Airbnb, which has avoided an initial public offering in favor of private funding so far, in a better position to go public.

Airbnb, which matches people wishing to rent out all or part of their homes to temporary guests, has grown quickly and is valued at more than $20 billion.

“L.T.’s (Laurence Tosi’s) expertise in hospitality and finance is the perfect combination to help take Airbnb to the next level,” Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky said in a statement.

Tosi’s resignation is effective Aug. 7, Blackstone said in a regulatory filing on Friday.

Tosi joined Blackstone in 2008, a year after the private equity firm went public. Before that, he was chief operating officer of global markets and investment banking at Merrill Lynch & Co.

Bloomberg first reported Tosi’s move on Thursday.

Blackstone said on Friday it appointed Michael Chae, a senior managing director at the firm, as Tosi’s replacement.

The company’s shares were down 3 percent at $38.51 in afternoon trading on the New York Stock Exchange.

Reporting by Radhika Rukmangadhan in Bengaluru; Editing by Joyjeet Das

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