Xero founder Rod Drury steps down, former Microsoft chief Steve Vamos named successor

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Xero founder Rod Drury steps down, former Microsoft chief Steve Vamos named successor

Xero founder Rod Drury is stepping back from his role of chief executive, appointing former Microsoft Australia boss Steve Vamos as his successor.

Drury will move to a non-executive director role to focus on innovation and strategy effective 1 April. Drury founded the cloud accounting software firm in Wellington in 2006, which listed on the New Zealand Stock Exchange a year later. The company has since grown its subscriber base to 1.2 million and revenue in the first half of 2018 of $187.8 million.

"It's been a huge 11 plus years building Xero," said Drury. "It's amazing to consider we started with just four people in a small Wellington apartment and we now have over 2000 people across 17 offices in eight countries, and over 1.2 million subscribers.

"I'm so proud of the Xero team, the community that's formed around us, the positive impact we've had on our customers, and the shareholder value we've created."

Xero chair Graham Smith said that a succession plan was high on the board's agenda, and that now was the right time to transition CEOs.

"Rod's achievement of building a global company and community from New Zealand is unmatched and on behalf of the board I'd like to thank him for his tremendous leadership since founding the company," said Smith.

"With a strong leadership team in place, Steve's appointment underpins the important evolution from a founder-led company to a business with worldwide scale. At the same time, Xero will continue to benefit from Rod's product vision as a non-executive director."

Vamos brings a high-profile resume and 30 years' experience in technology to Xero. He was chief executive of Microsoft Australia from 2003 to 2006, and managing director of Apple Australia and New Zealand from 1994 to 1995. He also held various management roles at IBM Australia between 1979 and 1994. Vamos is currently a non-executive director at Telstra.

"What Rod and Xero have accomplished is rare and remarkable," said Vamos. "I'm excited to have this opportunity to lead Xero's growth and development going forward. I have really enjoyed the opportunity to work with the Xero leadership team and we have a clearly communicated strategy, which we are committed to execute."

Earlier this year, Xero delisted from the New Zealand Stock Exchange to consolidate its shares on the Australian Securities Exchange. The company's shares were trading at $32.88 each at the time of writing.

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