Thursday, November 20, 2014

Xero 'turning a corner' in US

Tom Pullar Strecker for writes: Xero has reported an interim loss of $24.5 million, a tad down on its previous estimate of $25m, talking up its prospects in the United States.
The result for the six months to September 30 was achieved on revenues of $52m which had previously been announced.
The company also announced three United States hires, although it is still recruiting for a chief executive for North America to replace former Paypal vice president Peter Karpas who quit the company in September after just seven months.
Karpas' departure triggered a crisis of confidence among investors over Xero's US prospects and a steep slide in its share price, which has since stabilised in the high teens.
Chief executive Rod Drury said Xero had seen "strong indicators of future growth" in the US in recent months, including the expansion of its accounting partner channel, positive feedback from customers and reviews and increased "market influencer commentary".  
Xero shares were trading down 1.7 per cent at $17.20 following the announcement.
Its new hires include Auckland-born expat Angus Norton, formerly Microsoft's most senior Kiwi, as chief product officer.
Norton, who is based in Seattle and has been living in the US for 15 years, helped build Microsoft search engine Ding and was most recently responsible for guiding the transition of its Office suite to the cloud, overseeing a staff of 200.  
He said he wanted to contribute to a New Zealand company and "New Zealand's reputation as a place that builds innovative products".
Xero had "definitely turned a corner" in the US following the overhaul of its leadership team in the country, he said. "I don't think New Zealanders realise the impact the company is making on some large organisations."

Norton described himself as a "generalist" and said success wasn't all about having the best product, which he said Xero had. "It is about the product strategy and the partner strategy and how we operate in different states; the thing about the US is its scale."
Xero's other hires are John Forrester, who becomes vice president of US marketing, and James Maiocco, its new general manager of business and corporate development.


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