Intercom, a business messaging tool that enables companies to communicate directly with customers in an online context, announced today that it has hired former Intuit SVP Karen Peacock as company COO.
She joined the company May 30th, but they are making the news public for the first time today.
Peacock comes with an impressive resume that starts with a BA from Harvard and an MBA from Stanford. She joined Intuit in 2002 and has taken on progressively more responsibility over the years culminating with her SVP role. She’s also served as a board member at Revel Systems and advisor to several startups.
While most companies see the COO bringing some operational discipline to a growing organization, and perhaps taking some pressure off of the CEO, Intercom CEO Eoghan McCabe says he was looking for a different kind of executive.
“Karen joining is not about adding efficiency or getting ready for IPO and scaling what we have today. It is a partnership to build fundamentally new and bigger things,” he told TechCrunch.
He added that many CEOs hire COOs to take stuff off their plate that they don’t like doing, but he said that was not on his mind when he went looking for a COO.
Peacock says she was immediately struck by what Intercom was doing, which was providing a way to communicate directly with customers on the internet. “The internet is amazing in different ways, but it puts walls between you and your customers. A lot of businesses think they know customers because they have aggregated behavioral data,” she said. But what they lack is a fundamental understanding of the customer, something that was a given when people would walk into your store on a regular basis and you simply talked to them and got to know them.
She saw Intercom as a company where she could make a difference by helping bring that back. “Let me [help] build a product that helps marketers, sales reps, customer reps, that has a single view of the customer. [Intercom] is taking this kind of holistic, big audacious approach to a big problem.” It’s the kind of challenge that appealed to her
It probably didn’t hurt that Intercom is a growing business going from $1 million in ARR in 2013 to $50 million for 2016 or that it has collected almost $116 million in venture investment since it was founded in 2012.
Bringing an experienced executive like Peacock on board is definitely a next logical step for a company on Intercom’s growth trajectory. She actually should bring experience and operational discipline, and maybe even help prepare the company for an IPO, even if that wasn’t the primary reason for bringing her onboard.