Today I shared with the team the news that after 12 incredible years, I have decided to retire from operational duties at Xero. I’m not disappearing completely though. Once my successor is in place later this year, I’ll be sticking around in an advisory capacity working with Xero's global team.
As I’ve been reflecting on this decision in recent months it was important to me that the timing had to be right and after a great 12-year run in the hot seat, my season finale had to be a good one.
Thankfully and at long last, it seems that we’re now moving towards the pandemic’s endgame and from a business perspective, our teams in the UK and South Africa are in great shape with the pumps primed and ready for the next waves of growth. And I could not ask for a more capable and high performing team of senior leaders than the one I lead today and I’m confident that they’ll support and navigate the business through this transition beautifully. Knowing this has made a difficult decision a lot easier.
So, what’s next? I was 40 when I pulled on my first Xero t-shirt and I’ll be 53 next month and so after a well-earned break with my family, for the next phase of my career I’m taken with the thought of doing what I can to guide and support the next generation of small business entrepreneurs and pioneers with their own bold visions and big ideas.
I’ve spoken before about how it felt like I’d won first prize in a job competition when I was offered the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to work with Rod Drury on something we believed had a real chance to be huge. I’ve always operated in service of that vision and in combination with my personal sense of purpose for supporting small businesses, it’s turned out to be the highlight of my working life. I’ve also made many great friends and associates among our partner and customer communities whose stories and ambitions always inspired me and spurred us on.
I must thank Rod for bringing me into the family and then trusting me to get on with it from the other side of the world. And I’d also like to acknowledge Steve Vamos and Rachael Powell from whom I’ve learned and observed so much about what it means to be world-class.
Above all, I’m most grateful to my entire team, past and present, because they continually humbled me with their brilliance, their belief and commitment to the cause and their passion, and I’m particularly proud of their resilience over the last 16 months. They don’t realise how much they taught me and how they’ve helped me grow as a leader. But they have also had to endure my over-reliance on humour as my primary leadership quality and go-to solution for pretty much any situation, possibly more than they would reasonably expect. They all deserve a merit badge for that alone.
So thank you, team - what a journey so far and I can’t wait to see you flying to even greater heights in the future.