PayPal Stock Slips As High-Level Executive Announces Departure


PayPal Holdings (PYPL) said Chief Operating Officer Bill Ready, who helped build the now-lucrative Venmo payment service, will step down next month. PayPal stock fell on the news.

Ready will step down July 15. The digital payment processor said Ready will continue to work with its leadership team until the end of 2019 as part of a transition process.

PayPal stock slipped 2.2% to close at 116.21 on the stock market today. PayPal stock is ranked No. 10 on the IBD 50 roster of growth companies.

Ready is the former chief executive of mobile payments company Braintree. He came to PayPal when it acquired Braintree in 2013.

While at Braintree, he was credited with acquiring and nurturing Venmo, the peer-to-peer payment service that lets friends or families transfer money to each other. Analysts now view Venmo as one of PayPal’s potential growth engines. It competes with Square(SQ) Cash and other payment services.

PayPal Exec Architect Of Broad Strategy

“Mr. Ready is considered by investors to be a primary architect of PayPals broader strategy, and key to the design and execution of many of the company’s most successful initiatives including One-Touch and Venmo,” said Ramsey El-Assal, a Barclays analyst in a report. ” Given PayPal’s solid recent operating momentum, Mr. Ready’s exit is likely to catch the Street somewhat offguard.”

“We believe the departure of Mr. Ready was somewhat unexpected, and believe he was thought to be a potential eventual heir-apparent to the current CEO, Dan Schulman,” Mizuho Securities analyst Thomas McCrohan said in a report to clients.

On its April earnings call, PayPal disclosed for the first time that Venmo has more than 40 million users. PayPal said Venmo exited the first quarter with a revenue run-rate of more than $300 million, up from $200 million at the end of 2018.

Analysts now view Venmo as one of PayPal’s potential growth engines. It competes with Square (SQ) Cash and other payment services.

PayPal COO Departure ‘Not Ideal’

Wedbush analyst Moshe Katri said in a report: “While not ideal given Bill Ready’s stature and impressive resume, we believe PayPal has a deep executive bench. In fact, since this pending departure was planned some time ago, management already assigned four to five existing executives to take over the COO’s functions.”

PayPal stock hit an all-time high of 119.95 in intraday trading on Thursday before closing at 118.79. PayPal stock has gained 38% from a year ago as of Thursday’s market close.

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