The Motley Fool

XERO FPO shocks with CEO resignation

You won’t see Jeff Bezos quit as Amazon boss, or Mark Zuckerberg hand over the reins at Facebook. So why has Rod Drury suddenly resigned as XERO (ASX: XRO) CEO?

That’s the question analysts will be asking themselves this morning after the cloud accounting specialist announced Mr Drury would be moving to a non-executive director role at Xero the Wellington startup as of April 1.

In his place will be Steve Vamos who has consulted for the business for a long while and has an impressive track record in senior roles at IBM, Apple and Microsoft, among other tech leaders.

On a conference call today Mr. Drury gave little away as to the reasons behind the move, other than to suggest he wanted to focus on other areas in building the company such as product innovation, machine learning, or artificial intelligence, while he has no intention to take on other directorships, start building new tech startups, or just retire to the Martinborough winelands.

Mr. Drury also retains a major shareholding of 12.8% in the company he founded only around 11 years ago, although he did sell around A$85 million worth of shares in late 2017.

Xero is going to miss the vision, drive, know how, and leadership of Mr. Drury as it still has a long road ahead of it attempting to win market share in the cloud accounting space, with powerful rivals like Intuit’s Quickbooks still aggressively fighting to defend their market positions.

The business is also tracking against a stated target of moving to positive cash flows within its current cash balance. It also has an ambition to move towards a NZ$1 billion in annual revenue, which it is still a way off meeting.

Given Mr. Drury is something of a legend in the ANZ tech scene it’s no surprise the stock is off 4.2% to $31.50 in response to this morning’s surprise news, with the company due to rule off its books for the financial year on March 31 2018.

Investors will eagerly await the results due around mid May and any further news as to the company’s strategy. Over the short-term revenue growth rates and the move to profitability are likely to drive the share price direction in 2018.

NEW. The Motley Fool AU Releases Five Cheap and Good Stocks to Buy for 2020 and beyond!

Our experts here at The Motley Fool Australia have just released a fantastic report, detailing 5 dirt cheap shares that you can buy in 2020.

One stock is an Australian internet darling with a rock solid reputation and an exciting new business line that promises years (or even decades) of growth… while trading at an ultra-low price…

Another is a diversified conglomerate trading over 40% off its high, all while offering a fully franked dividend yield over 3%...

Plus 3 more cheap bets that could position you to profit over the next 12 months!

See for yourself now. Simply click here or the link below to scoop up your FREE copy and discover all 5 shares. But you will want to hurry – this free report is available for a brief time only.


Motley Fool contributor Tom Richardson owns shares of Xero. The Motley Fool Australia owns shares of Xero.

You can find Tom on Twitter @tommyr345

We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Scott Phillips.