Liddell takes seat as Xero board chair

Liddell takes seat as Xero board chair
Former General Motors vice chairman and Microsoft senior vice president Chris Liddell is Xero's new board chair, one of a number of key US appointments.

Xero has recruited former GM vice chairman and Microsoft senior VP Chris Liddell as independent board chair, replacing Sam Knowles, the CEO who established Kiwibank and holds several other governance roles.

The appointment is one of several that build out the cloud accounting software provider's US leadership team, with Bill Veghte made a director and Peter Karpas the US CEO.

“As you would expect from a fast expanding software company, our strategy is to increase US representation on our board," says Xero CEO Rod Drury.

“Sam has helped guide us through a period of rapid global expansion to over 600 people operating across four countries. His experience ensured we put in place the right foundations, systems and processes that enabled us to scale, while retaining our nimbleness and culture.

The company announced the developments in an online video today.

Veghte, head of HP's enterprise group, becomes an independent, non-executive director. Prior to HP, Veghte spent nearly 20 years at Microsoft where he held roles such as corporate vice president for Windows Server, then corporate vice president, North America, before becoming acting senior vice president until May 2010.

Karpas is the former vice president and general manager for small and medium business in North America for PayPal. He was also previously chief marketing and product management officer and senior vice president at Intuit.

"His proven leadership, comprehensive familiarity with the B2B market in North America in both accounting and payments will help our drive for growth in the US, where there are over 29 million small businesses," Drury says.

The appointments follow a recent capital raise by Xero, which secured further funding from existing US investors Valar Ventures and Matrix Capital Management. The $180 million was used partly to grow its team in the US and partly to stash away to send a signal that it had strong cash on hand.