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Wise Cofounder Hinrikus To Resign As Chairman, Former Netflix CFO To Fill Role

Wise cofounder Taavet Hinrikus, who served as chief executive for three years through 2017 before becoming chairman of the company, plans to step down within a year, the Financial Times reported, citing regulatory documents the company filed in anticipation of a direct listing on the London Stock Exchange.

The paper reported that his successor will be David Wells, a past chief financial officer of Netflix and a non-executive director at Wise.

U.K. securities regulators have indicated a preference that at last half the directors of public companies be independent, the Times reported, and Wise indicated in its filing that it “places great emphasis on the importance of strong corporate governance” and plans to adhere with the director expectations “over the short to medium term.”

Hinrikus, according to the Financial Times, founded what then was known as TransferWise with Kristo Kaarmann, who also is from Estonia, in 2010. Hinrikus reportedly owns 11 percent of Wise shares. Kaarmann, according to the newspaper, owns 19 percent.

In a statement included in Wise’s regulatory filings, Kaarmann said: “Since announcing our expected intention to float last week, we’ve had over 60,000 expressions of interest in our customer shareholder program, OwnWise, which is designed to reward customers who buy Wise shares and stick with us for the longer-term. This direct listing is about further aligning our mission and our shareholder base, and I’m enormously proud that customers want to be a part of that.”

Other investors in Wise, according to the Financial Times, include ValarVentures, IA Ventures and Andreessen Horowitz and Baillie Gifford.

According to Reuters, Wise has turned a profit since 2017, with an annual revenue growth rate of 54 percent. Sales this year were about $586 million, Wise said in a statement, Reuters reported, and as of mid-June this year the company  handled cross-border transfers for 6 million users totaling £75.6 billion.

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