Chris Liddell named Xero board chairman

Chris Liddell named Xero board chairman

Appointment part of vendor's US shift

As part of its shift from New Zealand to the United States, online accounting software vendor, Xero, has invested in North America with the addition of a new chairman to its board and the appointment of two senior executives.

The move comes on the back of the Wellington-based company’s $180 million ($US150m) capital raising round which was completed in October last year.

New York-based Chris Liddell is stepping in as Xero chairman of the board, replacing Sam Knowles who reigned from the position today after three years of service.

Xero chief executive officer (CEO), Rod Drury, credits Knowles for helping the vendor through its rapid global expansion which has resulted in more than 600 people operating across NZ, Australia, the United Kingdom and the US.

“[Knowles’] experience ensured we put in place the right foundations, systems and processes that enabled us to scale, while retaining our nimbleness and culture.”

Liddell most recently worked with General Motors where he was vice-chairman and chief financial officer (CFO) since joining the company in January 2010. He led the company’s global finance operations and its $US23 billion IPO in November 2010.

He also worked at Microsoft between 2005 and 2009 as senior vice-president and CFO, before which he served as CFO of International Paper from 2003 to 2005, and CFO of Carter Holt Harvey from 1995 to 1998 before becoming CEO in 1999.

"As you would expect from a fast expanding software company, our strategy is to increase US representation on our board," Drury said in a statement.

"These three high calibre appointments are all significant additions to our American-based leadership team and position us strongly in the US and globally."

Read more: TUANZ's new CEO, Craig Young, to start in October

In addition to Liddell’s appointment, Xero has brought on board San Francisco-based Bill Veghte as an independent non-executive director of Xero.

Veghte runs Hewlett-Packard’s (HP) enterprise group as executive vice-president and general manager, in which he takes care of development and delivery of IT infrastructure solutions and the direction, management and delivery of HP’s Cloud efforts.

Before HP, he spent almost 20 years with Microsoft in roles including Windows Server corporate vice-president, North America corporate vice-president, and senior vice-president.

Xero has also hired Peter Karpas as North America CEO who will start in the role on February 24. Karpas was previously vice-president and general manager of PayPal’s North American small and medium business (SMB) department.

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