Former Microsoft Dynamics Business Group director, Chris Ridd, has been appointed Xero’s Australian managing director. He replaces Wayne Schmidt, who has been moved to the role of channel and sales manager.
Xero is a cloud-based accounting alternative to MYOB and Quickbooks with around 12 staff in Australia, which is well under the 30-staff goal set by its New Zealand-based CEO, Rod Drury, in 2009.
Chris Ridd spent the past 15 years at Microsoft in a variety of roles spanning enterprise sales and marketing, channel development and business analysis. He said the two companies were very different and claimed Xero was in a growth phase.
“Over time we’ll probably be doing more through an indirect model as opposed to going direct but at the moment we’re doing both,” he said. “We’re probably doing proportionally more direct business than we want to be…One of the strengths Xero has is that its got a very compelling offering for the accounting channel.
“They can actually run and provide a nice, efficient value-added service for their clients using the Xero Partner Edition.”
Ridd also claimed Australian customers were no longer as worried about the potential dangers of the cloud and that the market was “primed” to use cloud-based solutions.
“I woul have said 12 months ago there were a lot of questions and concerns about data sovereignty, security of information and reliability of service,” he said. “But I think a lot of that’s changing as you see more and more services consumed by the cloud.
“The next 12 months are going to be critical as we grow.”
Ridd also said the local Xero team was doing a lot for its size and would need to expand to cope with the increase in customers and workload.
He said Xero was recruiting for up to two positions at the moment and would steadily grow.