The founder of FinTech unicorn Paddle has moved into the position of executive chairman to focus on product and strategy.

Christian Owens will be replaced as CEO by software industry veteran Jimmy Fitzgerald, who joined the company as president and COO in 2021 and was already overseeing its commercial operations.

Fitzgerald joined from ServiceNow, where he held a number of senior roles over a 10-year period. Prior to that he worked at SaaS price optimisation startup SignalDemand (acquired by PROS) and held senior leadership positions at customer relationship management (CRM) pioneer Siebel Systems (later acquired by Oracle).

Paddle, a provider of payments infrastructure for SaaS companies, raised £162 million last year led by KKR at a valuation of $1.4bn. It subsequently swooped to acquire US FinTech ProfitWell in a deal worth more than $200m.

Its tech is used by thousands of software companies in more than 200 markets worldwide, allowing them to manage payments and operations across multiple geographies and navigate an increasingly complex web of local and international tax and data regulations. 

It does this by integrating checkout, payment, subscription management, invoicing, international taxes and financial compliance processes, acting as a ‘merchant of record’ for its customers. 

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“After 11 years, I’ve decided to step out of my role as CEO of Paddle and into the role of executive chairman,” Owens wrote on the Paddle website.

“For over a decade, we’ve been working to change the way software is sold around the world and help entrepreneurs do the things that really matter. It has been an incredible journey so far – one that has allowed thousands of companies to collectively sell billions of dollars of software and to shape the world we live in.

“It’s hard for me to put into words the experience of building Paddle. I started this company in my bedroom, and together we have scaled it to an enduring and recognised business approaching $100m in revenue. As we push forward into our next phase, I know now is the right time for me to pass the baton of day-to-day operations.”

Owens said Fitzgerald has had “an extraordinary and outsized impact on the business”.

“We’re still early in Paddle’s journey. There are many more things we have to build, and thousands more businesses for us to help,” continued Owens. “I’m incredibly excited both about the things we already have planned, and also the ability in my new role to spend more time with our customers and our Product teams, continuing to craft our future.

“The road ahead of us is filled with huge opportunities and challenging work, and I couldn’t be more excited.”

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