PayPal Holdings Inc. announced late Thursday that its chief operating officer William J. “Bill” Ready will leave by the end of 2019 after six years with the online-payments leader.
The unexpected departure of its number 2 executive cast some uncertainty over San Jose, Calif.-based PayPal. In mid-morning trading, its stock was trading at $116.73, down 1.7% from Thursday’s $118.79 close.
In a news release, PayPal said Ready “will transition at the end of 2019 to pursue entrepreneurial interests outside the company.” Ready will step down from his formal role as executive vice president and COO July 15, according to a regulatory filing, but will “continue to work with key partners and our leadership team until the end of the year,” company president chief executive Dan Schulman said in the release.
Ready came to PayPal in 2013 when eBay Inc., PayPal’s parent company at the time, paid $800 million to acquire the Chicago-based company he headed, e-commerce service provider Braintree, which owned the Venmo person-to-person payments service. Ready joined Braintree in 2011, according to his LinkedIn profile. Venmo has rapidly expanded since then and now claims about 40 million users. Ready played an important role in PayPal’s subsequent initiatives and acquisitions, and many observers considered him the heir apparent to Schulman.
“Bill Ready has changed the payments ecosystem with every position that he has held,” says e-commerce researcher Thad Peterson, a senior analyst at Aite Group LLC, Boston. “At PayPal he was a creative touchstone that accelerated the burst of innovation that we’ve seen at that company over the past several years. I’m sure that he’ll be missed at PayPal, but I’m equally certain that we will be seeing more innovation from his brilliant mind in his future endeavors.”
Exactly what Ready will be doing post-PayPal wasn’t disclosed, but he expects PayPal will continue to thrive. “The transformative work we are doing has positioned PayPal for success well into the future,” Ready said in the release. “I am excited for PayPal’s future and committed to using the coming months to ensure a smooth transition, and support the great team we have at PayPal.”
Schulman said “Bill will always be an important part of the PayPal story. The board [of directors] and management team are grateful for his many contributions and for the customer focus, product excellence and culture of innovation he has helped to instill over the past six years.”