PayPal named Alex Chriss its next CEO, effective next month, as its long-time CEO Dan Schulman follows through on a plan for departure.
Chriss will join the San Jose, California-based digital payments pioneer on Sept. 27, including joining PayPal’s board, the company said in a press release Monday.
“Chriss has the unanimous support of the Board and its CEO search committee following extensive engagement and evaluation across all of the key metrics that are critical to PayPal’s future success,” the press release said.
Schulman has served in the job for nearly a decade, becoming CEO-designee in 2014 and taking on the title formally, along with the president role, in July 2015. In February of this year, he said he would step down from the CEO post and join PayPal’s board.
The transition to a new CEO comes after pressure from investors mounted in recent months to name a successor to Schulman sooner rather than later. The change in the top post follows a tumultuous few years for the legacy payments player after it missed goals for expanding customer accounts and lost two chief financial officers.
In addition, the activist investor Elliott Investment Management made a $2 billion investment in PayPal last year and began pressing the company for improved returns. Since then, PayPal has shifted its strategic priorities and has cut employees and costs worldwide in an effort to stoke a more profitable business.
This year, Schulman has underscored three key areas of focus: PayPal’s branded checkout business; its software services for merchants; and its digital wallet development for consumers. Overall, the company has been angling to sell more higher-margin services, such as in-store merchant offerings, Schulman explained on the company’s recent second-quarter earnings call with analysts.
Nonetheless, the company’s lower-margin unbranded business segment, led by the Braintree unit, has been growing at a faster clip than its legacy checkout business, dragging down the overall profit margin. Improving those margins, while continuing to fuel growth, is likely to be a major focus of the next CEO, given key investor interest in driving that effort.