Daniel Springer of Responsys joins DocuSign as CEO

The long-awaited new chief executive says the e-signature and digital transaction management company is "IPO ready."

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Daniel Springer joins DocuSign as CEO after 10 years of serving as chairman and CEO of Responsys.

Gary Parker

More than a year after DocuSign CEO Keith Krach announced he was ready to step down, the e-signature and digital transaction management company has finally announced Krach's successor: Daniel Springer, former chairman and CEO of Responsys, has signed on as DocuSign's new chief executive.

As expected, Krach will continue on in his role on DocuSign's board as chairman.

During the course of DocuSign's relatively long search for its new CEO, a handful of other senior executives at the company left. Even so, the 13-year-old company says it is coming off of its most successful year to date. With around 130,000 new users joining its network on a daily basis, DocuSign says it now has more than 100 million users across 188 countries. The company is valued at more than $3 billion.

Springer told ZDNet that the current management team has done a "fantastic job with the business," especially given the pending leadership change. "They've had one arm tied behind their back because of having an interim CEO in place -- granted, one who had been existing CEO," he said.

The strong team in place is part of what makes DocuSign "IPO ready," he said. Along with its leadership, Springer pointed to DocuSign's scale and fast growth, as well as its highly predictable revenue model, as indications that it's "prepared to go public." Still, Springer said he couldn't offer a timeline for that move.

"It's less about market timing," he said, noting that DocuSign is large enough that "it could go public in any market. It's more just thinking through what's the right time for this business."

Springer also framed it as yet another step in the company's development, rather than an end in itself. "I don't want to think of it as a finish line for us," he said. "I want to think of it as an interesting milestone... that will fit into the overall growth of what I consider a fantastic business."

Springer brings to DocuSign experience shepherding businesses through the IPO process. He took Responsys public and then led its sale to Oracle for $1.6 billion in 2014.

For now, Springer said he's not thinking about finding a buyer for DocuSign. "We're trying to build a really important, category-defining business," he said. "I don't think of M&A as something that's part of the plan. I also believe in the adage that great companies get bought, they don't get sold."

His Day One priority is to simply "do a lot of good listening and talking to folks in the company," Springer said. From there, he wants to ensure that DocuSign maintains its aggressive growth "but in a well-planned, thoughtful way so we have a lot of predictability."

That likely means an initial focus on DocuSign's international business, he said, as well as its push to integrate payment capabilities into its products.

Before serving for 10 years as chairman and CEO of Responsys, Springer was the managing director of Modem Media. He also served as CEO at Telleo, CMO at NextCard, and as a consultant at McKinsey. He started his career at DRI/McGraw-Hill and Pacific Telesis.

"Dan brings an exceptional track record of executive leadership, along with deep SaaS expertise and public company experience," Krach said in a statement. "As we pursue one of the largest strategic markets in the cloud today, we must continue to sprint this marathon, and I could not be passing the baton to a better person and leader than Dan."

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