PayPal COO Bill Ready to depart at end of 2019

PayPal Chief Operating Officer Bill Ready is leaving the company at the end of the year, PayPal announced via a statement issued on Thursday. The exec joined PayPal when it acquired his startup, the payments gateway Braintree, back in 2013 for $800 million in cash. He became PayPal’s COO a few years later, in 2016. According to PayPal, Ready is interested in pursuing other entrepreneurial interests outside the company.

At PayPal, Ready drives product, technology and engineering, including the customer experiences for PayPal’s consumer and merchant businesses, as well as Venmo, Braintree, Paydiant and Xoom businesses. As COO, he was a senior member of the executive team responsible for helping drive revenue and profit goals for the company.

Prior to this role, he ran global product and engineering at PayPal, where he led the PayPal, Braintree, Venmo and Paydiant teams responsible for end-to-end customer experiences, including PayPal One Touch; Pay with Venmo; the redesigned PayPal mobile app; PayPal Commerce; and the expansion of Braintree’s global reach and payment methods.

During his time as COO, PayPal looked beyond being just a checkout button on the web, and made a key decision to strike deals with the likes of Visa, Mastercard, AppleGoogleSamsung and Walmart, all of which had earlier been positioned as PayPal’s competitors at point-of-sale in-store and online.

PayPal also acquired iZettle, the Square of Europe; payments solution for marketplaces, Hyperwallet; small business lender Swift Financial; and TIO Networks, with the goal of better serving the under-banked North Americans living paycheck-to-paycheck, among others. It invested in cross-border payments specialist PPRO, launched instant transfers to banks, expanded its small business lending, brought Venmo to more online platforms, took OneTouch international and much more.

The announcement follows this week’s news of a cryptocurrency backed by Facebook called Libra, which counts PayPal as a founding member, among others.

“Since joining PayPal six years ago, I have had the privilege of working alongside many incredibly talented people, and I am proud of what we as a leadership team have accomplished together,” said Ready, in a statement. “The transformative work we are doing has positioned PayPal for success well into the future. I am excited for PayPal’s future and committed to using the coming months to ensure a smooth transition, and support the great team we have at PayPal.”

Ready will work through year-end, and then his duties will be split among other executives.

According to PayPal’s 8-K filing, Ready “will no longer be classified as a Section 16 officer or executive officer of the Company, effective as of July 15, 2019,” and entered a separation agreement with PayPal on July 18, 2019 that will provide severance benefits following his separation date of December 31, 2019.

Wall Street is likely being caught off-guard by the news. Wedbush Securities’ Moshe Katri said that Ready’s exit was “not ideal, but manageable” for PayPal. Meanwhile, Mizuho’s Thomas McCrohan noted that Ready “was thought to be a potential eventual heir apparent” to chief executive Dan Schulman.”

And Morgan Stanley analyst James Faucette sees potentially less emphasis on building Venmo as a standalone brand due to Ready’s departure.

PayPal shares are down 1.69% in Friday AM trading.

“Bill will always be an important part of the PayPal story,” said Dan Schulman, president and CEO. “The Board and management team are grateful for his many contributions and for the customer focus, product excellence and culture of innovation he has helped to instill over the past six years,” said Schulman. “Bill will continue to work with key partners and our leadership team until the end of the year. I appreciate his commitment to PayPal and its future.”