Rod Drury, the founder of cloud accountancy software group Xero (ASX:XRO), is stepping down as CEO to be replaced by digital business veteran Steve Vamos.

Five years ago Xero was a small cap stock with a market cap of $300 million. Today it is worth $4.4 billion.

“It’s been a huge 11-plus years building Xero,” says 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.”

Mr Drury steps down from April 1. He will become a non-executive director of the Xero board of directors — but would not seek to join other boards.

Xero's five-year journey from small cap to a $4.4 billion market cap.
Xero’s five-year journey from small cap to a $4.4 billion market cap.

“I was finding that I was a little bit stretched,” Mr Drury said. “There is so much innovation that we can build and the day-to-day running of a business globally and working all of that out.

“What I am so passionate about is the ability for us to now build fantastic new products for our platform and I would really like the time to focus on those.

“I am not planning to do anything else. I’m not looking for other directorships.”

His replacement, Mr Vamos, has more than 30 years of experience in technology and digital media including IBM, Apple and Microsoft. He has lived and worked in Australia, the US and Asia.

He was Chief Executive Officer of Microsoft Australia from 2003 to 2006 and Managing Director of Apple Computer Australia and New Zealand between 1994 and 1995.

He is a non-executive Director of Telstra and Fletcher Building.

Mr Vamos said: “What Rod and Xero have accomplished is rare and remarkable. 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 executing.”

Graham Smith, the chair of Xero, said: “We believe Steve Vamos brings an invaluable skill set to lead Xero. He has worked in some of the world’s largest tech companies and is a recognised, purpose-driven people leader, with a focus on growth and operational excellence.”

Xero is now earnings positive.

In November last year the company posted a half-year loss of $NZ21.08 million, an improvement of more than 50 per cent on the same six months last year, as revenue jumped 37 per cent to $NZ187.8 million.

The company had a positive EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation) for the first time — $5.4 million compared to loss of $25.9 million in the same six months last year.


This article first appeared on Business Insider Australia, Australia’s most popular business news website. Follow Business Insider on Facebook or Twitter.