PayPal Names Intuit’s Alex Chriss CEO, Replacing Schulman

PayPal Holdings Inc. named Alex Chriss chief executive officer, tapping a longtime fintech executive with a focus on small businesses to lead the beleaguered payments giant.

(Bloomberg) — PayPal Holdings Inc. named Alex Chriss chief executive officer, tapping a longtime fintech executive with a focus on small businesses to lead the beleaguered payments giant.

Chriss, who led Intuit Inc.’s QuickBooks business, will start in the new role on Sept. 27, according to a statement Monday. He replaces Dan Schulman, who will stay on as a director. 

Chriss, 46, is taking the reins of a company that was once a pandemic darling, as activity on its platforms swelled when consumers were stuck at home and turned to online shopping in droves. Now, though, it’s contending with a slowdown in growth and the stock has plummeted. 

“Mr. Chriss will be inheriting a challenged but not un-fixable story,” Dan Dolev, an analyst at Mizuho Securities USA, said in a note to clients.

PayPal said earlier this year that Schulman, 65, would retire in coming months. He will remain on the board until its next annual shareholder meeting in May.

With Chriss, PayPal’s board is turning to an executive with a history of dealmaking and a focus on providing technology to small businesses. He led Intuit’s $12 billion acquisition of the email marketing firm Mailchimp in 2021, a move that bolstered Intuit’s offerings for businesses looking for ways to reach and serve customers online.

“Throughout my career, I have championed small and medium businesses and entrepreneurs,” Chriss said in the statement. “I am proud to take the baton from Dan and thrilled to have the opportunity to work with PayPal’s talented and committed team.”

Management Churn

PayPal rose 2% to $62.78 at 10:42 a.m. in New York. The company’s stock peaked at $308.53 in July 2021, which gave it a market capitalization of more than $360 billion. It’s now valued at less than $70 billion. 

Read More: PayPal Hunts Next CEO With a $279 Billion Hole in Its Stock

Since 2021, the company has been dealing with a bevy of senior-level departures, including then-Chief Financial Officer John Rainey. Jim Magats, who oversaw PayPal’s omni-channel solutions division, and Darrell Esch, who led the Venmo unit, both departed in 2022. 

Last week, the company announced that Jonathan Auerbach, who was most recently the chief strategy, growth and data officer, will be leaving the company next year.

Now, with Schulman’s move, it will mean that all but one of the senior executives who presented at the company’s investor day in 2021 have decided to leave the company. The one executive from that presentation that remains is Peggy Alford, who is executive vice president of global sales and merchant services and was seen as a potential candidate to replace Schulman.  

Chriss’s appointment caps a months-long search by PayPal’s board for a replacement for Schulman, who has been leading a massive cost-cutting effort in advance of a new CEO coming in. The company in January said it would dismiss 2,000 staffers as part of that push. 

Schulman in recent quarters has sought to refocus PayPal on its core payments checkout experience after a push to become the world’s next “super app” went awry. For years, Schulman espoused goals of adding hundreds of millions of users, though he has since reined in those ambitions in favor of focusing on just encouraging existing users to use PayPal more often.

Read More: PayPal Gets Stung by ‘Bad Actors,’ Shuts 4.5 Million Accounts

Still, the company continues to dabble in new forms of payments. This month, it said it’s rolling out a stablecoin, the first by a large financial company and a potentially significant boost to the sluggish adoption of digital tokens for payments. 

PayPal has been investing in its unbranded-payments technology too, though that has sparked concern among some shareholders who fear the branded PayPal checkout options are losing share to newer competitors such as Apple Inc.’s mobile wallet. The unbranded business is also less lucrative than the branded option.

“The board search committee worked diligently and thoroughly to find the right candidate to take PayPal into its next stage of growth and expansion, and we are confident Alex is that person,” John Donahoe, chairman of the PayPal board of directors, said in the statement.

(Adds chairman’s comment in last paragraph.)

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