PayPal taps Intuit veteran Chriss as new CEO

By Niket Nishant and Manya Saini

(Reuters) – PayPal Holdings said on Monday that Alex Chriss, a top executive at tax-preparation software firm Intuit, would replace its longest-serving chief executive officer Dan Schulman on Sept. 27.

PayPal’s shares were up nearly 2.3%, at $62.93, after the news.

The change of guard marks a watershed moment for the digital payments giant, which will be under a new chief for the first time since it split from e-commerce firm eBay in 2015.

“We believe (Chriss’s) experience sounds highly relevant to PayPal as it reemphasizes focus on small merchants and launches PayPal Complete Payments,” William Blair analysts wrote in a note.

PayPal Complete Payments is a payments processing solution for small and medium-sized businesses.

Chriss is currently executive vice president and general manager of Intuit’s Small Business and Self-Employed Group. According to Wolfe Research, his biggest accomplishment was the company’s $12-billion acquisition and integration of Mailchimp in 2021.

“We see this (appointment) as a key positive, given a main concern from investors about PayPal is the company’s lackluster record with acquiring and integrating assets in recent years,” Wolfe Research analyst Darrin Peller said.

Chriss will be taking the helm at a time when the company has been exploring several avenues to pursue growth. Last week, it launched a U.S. dollar stablecoin, becoming the first major financial technology firm to embrace digital currencies for payments and transfers.

The San Jose, California-based company has been troubled by underwhelming margins in recent months. Earlier in August, PayPal reported second-quarter adjusted operating margins of 21.4%, missing its forecast of 22%.

Cost-cutting measures have also come under investors’ scrutiny, as PayPal battens down the hatches to prepare for a potential slowdown.

Outgoing CEO Schulman will remain on the board of the company until its next annual meeting of stockholders in May, PayPal said.

(Reporting by Niket Nishant in Bengaluru; Editing by Pooja Desai)