Xero founder Rod Drury steps down as CEO

Rod Drury will remain with the cloud accounting firm as a non-executive director when former Microsoft Australia CEO Steve Vamos takes the reins in April.

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Xero CEO Rod Drury at Xerocon in Melbourne

Image: Xero

Xero CEO Rod Drury has announced he will be stepping down from the chief executive position at the company he founded 11 years ago.

Replacing Drury is Steve Vamos, who has been working closely with Xero's executive team over the past 18 months in preparation for his takeover.

Vamos will join the New Zealand company with 30 years of tech industry experience under his belt, most notably having held the position of CEO at Microsoft Australia from 2003 to 2006 where he then continued as the company's vice president of worldwide sales and international operations until 2008.

He was also CEO of Ninemsn from 1998 through 2002; Apple Computer Australia and New Zealand's managing director in 1994 and 1995 and Asia Pacific managing director from 1996-1998; and prior to that he held various roles at IBM since 1979.

Vamos has been a non-executive director of Telstra since September 2009.

"It's been a huge 11-plus years building Xero. It's amazing to consider we started with just four people in a small Wellington apartment and we now have over 2,000 people across 17 offices in eight countries, and over 1.2 million subscribers," Drury said in a statement to shareholders on Monday.

"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."

Drury will remain with the company as a non-executive chair and will continue his focus on innovation and strategy when Vamos takes the chief role officially next month.

"It's now the right time for me to pass the baton to Steve, who has the experience to significantly expand Xero internationally," Drury added.

Speaking with ZDNet in September, Drury said his company was evolving from an online accounting software firm into a global small business platform.

"Our purpose now is to help small businesses create jobs, get capital into them, and to give them pathways to trade with other businesses all over the world," he said.

"We're moving away from the software to actually being a business platform that accountants and bookkeepers can run their practices on to make small business customers more productive."

For the first half of the 2017-18 financial year, Xero reported positive earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, and amortisation (EBITDA) for the first time in its history, reporting NZ$5.4 million for the six-month period ending September 30, 2017.

EBITDA in the previous corresponding period was minus NZ$25.9 million, marking a 121 percent improvement.

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