cfo of wise resigns and ceo will soon take four-month leave

The Chief Financial Officer of the digital cross-border payments platform Wise – formerly known as TransferWise – announced today that he will be stepping down from his roles after spending eight years at the company.

Matthew Briers, who suffered a “horrible” cycling accident back in February 2022 when he went under the wheels of a bus, will be spending his time focusing on his full recovery.

“I’m incredibly proud of what we have achieved in these early chapters at Wise and could not be more excited about what is ahead for the business. Wise is growing fast, with a massive opportunity in front of us, and we’ve bucked the trend by working out how to do this profitably”, Briers told investors in a regulatory update.

According to the Chief Executive Officer of Wise, Kristo Käärmann, Briers has been a crucial piece of the puzzle to growing the company to its current state. By the end of the fourth quarter of the 2023 fiscal year, Wise had 5.8 million personal customers and 340,000 business customers.

Briers’ departure will be effective on March 2024 and the Board of Directors is already scouting for his successor. In this regard, the Chairman of Wise, David Wells, commented: “He has been instrumental in helping Wise scale, not just rapidly, but profitably – a combination that has fuelled Wise’s global growth and created a formula for continued success”.

CEO of Wise Took a Four-Month Sabbatical a Few Days Ago

This announcement comes roughly 12 days after CEO Käärmann announced that he will be taking a four-month leave to take care of his family and spend time with his recently born second son.

Käärmann said that he has been working on Wise for 12 years non-stop and said emphasized that the last time he took a break from the business was in 2014 when he spent Christmas time with his wife to celebrate their honeymoon.

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“I am excited that Wise has reached this point, where I can take full advantage of our sabbatical policy and trust the day to day leading of the company to Harsh, with the support of the rest of the leaders at Wise”, the tech leader said.

Harsh Sinha, the Chief Technology Officer for Wise, will temporarily take over Käärmann’s role to oversee the day-to-day operations of the payments platform. Wise reportedly offers paid sabbaticals to its employees after they have been with the company for four years.

Shares of Wise (WISE) are tumbling 1.7% this morning to 589.4p after the CFO’s resignation news came out. For investors, unexpected changes in a company’s leadership team are not usually well received.

Some analysts have speculated that Käärmann’s leave could be used to test Sinha’s ability to run the company and is being viewed as an early step in what could be a planned succession. None of those rumors have been confirmed by Wise’s leadership.

Wise Keeps Growing its Customer Base Fast

wise payments volume by type of customer

In mid-April this year, Wise published a trading update covering the fourth quarter of the 2023 fiscal year. During that three-month period, the company processed £26.7 billion in payments and generated total revenues of £223.5 million.

“Our financial results this quarter show great progress on our mission. Over 6 million people and businesses used Wise for moving and managing their money internationally during the quarter; a 33% increase YoY. And these customers moved nearly £27bn (+25% YoY)”, Käärmann commented.

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He added: “This growth drove a 45% YoY increase in revenue, and when combined with net interest income from the Wise Account, resulted in total income growth of 83% YoY for the quarter and 73% YoY for FY23.”

With Wise, payments can be sent in 50 different currencies and to over 170 different countries. Over 70% of the firm’s payment volumes come from individuals who use the platform to execute online money transfers to third parties located in any country of the world. Wise generates money from transfer fees, forex bid-ask spreads, and interest payments.

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