The head of product at fast-growing fintech startup GoCardless is leaving: ‘It’s time to step out of the way’

Grey Baker, GoCardlessGoCardlessGrey Baker

A senior executive in charge of GoCardless’s product and global markets is leaving the fast-growing fintech startup after four years with the business.

Grey Baker joined the company in March 2012, according to his LinkedIn profile, and has held the positions of head of analytics, head of operations, and vice president for engineering. His current title is VP product and head of global.

Staff were told of Baker’s departure on Thursday and CEO Hiroki Takeuchi confirmed the news to Business Insider on Friday.

He says: “It’s a very amicable decision between the two of us. The direction we need to take our product management is different from the things that energize Grey.

“He likes getting his hands dirty and building a product. We need someone who’s going to be coordinating more than they are building. It’s just a different phase for the company. This is true for any company — as you scale, the business changes.”

Baker confirmed as much to BI over email, saying: “Over the last couple of months it’s become clear that the rest of the company would benefit from a more traditional product function, with a wider set of responsibilities than just building the right thing.

“I’m not the right person to lead that team, so it’s time to step out of the way and let someone more experienced take over.”

GoCardless, founded in 2011 by three Oxford graduates, originally started out as a way for small businesses accept direct debit payments, something that is usually too costly for them. Its technology allows businesses to aggregate payments.

However, its user-friendly tech has made it popular with bigger businesses and today it is used by the likes of travel agent Thomas Cook and FTSE 100 software firm Sage. Around 20,000 businesses use GoCardless to process regular payments for them and it processes the equivalent of $2 billion (£1.3 billion) worth of payments for customers each year. The London-headquartered startup employs 80 people.

Takeuchi says he will be more involved in running the product team while GoCardless looks for Baker’s replacement. He added: “Grey’s not going anywhere straight away, he’s still with the company, he’s still really engaged but what we believe is transparency. What we didn’t want to do is make that decision and not tell anyone what we were doing.”

Baker said over email he “will make sure we have the smoothest transition possible.” Takeuchi says: “Grey’s a phenomenal guy, he’s been with us for a long time and I’ve really enjoyed working with him.”

GoCardless raised $13 million (£8.9 million) from Notion Capital in March. Previous investors including Balderton Capital, Accel Partners, and Passion Capital also invested in the round. The company has raised $24.8 million (£17 million) to date, according to Crunchbase.

Takeuchi told BI the cash would be put towards expanding the business globally. He said: “We started in the UK. We now have customers in France, Germany, Spain. That’s where a lot of our money is going to be going, expanding our footprint across Europe so we can help more businesses there.”

He added that GoCardless is also looking at the US, Canada, Australia, and Brazil.

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