Square names Activision Blizzard's Ahuja finance chief

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Square Inc. named Activision Blizzard Inc. executive Amrita Ahuja as chief financial officer, replacing Sarah Friar, who stepped down from her role as Jack Dorsey’s No. 2 at the digital-payments company last month.

Ahuja, 39, spent more than eight years at video-game maker Activision Blizzard, most recently serving as CFO of the Blizzard Entertainment unit, which has developed popular titles including World of Warcraft and Overwatch. She has also held various roles at Fox Networks Group, Walt Disney Co. and Morgan Stanley. Square shares, which have gained more than 40 percent in the past year, rose 1.5 percent in extended trading after the announcement.

The company’s shares tanked in October after Friar said she was leaving to run neighborhood social network Nextdoor.com Inc. During her six-year tenure as CFO, she was seen as pivotal to the company’s stability, growth and expansion beyond payments processing.
The CFO position is regarded as especially critical at San Francisco-based Square because founder and Chief Executive Officer Dorsey simultaneously serves as CEO of Twitter Inc. Ahuja will take over the role as Square pushes into new areas in financial services and continues to grow internationally.

“In Amrita, we have found an amazing, multidimensional business leader,” Dorsey said Thursday in a statement. “Amrita brings the ability to consider and balance opportunities across our entire business, and she will help strengthen our discipline as we invest, build, and scale."

Activision Blizzard’s shares have fallen more than 30 percent in the past year. Ahuja is the second executive to leave the Santa Monica, California-based company this week -- on Dec. 31 Activision abruptly said it was firing CFO Spencer Neumann for causes unrelated to financial reporting. He was named to the same job at Netflix Inc. two days later.

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