One of the biggest names in fintech is about to take a step back from the company he helped build, as Plaid Co-Founder William Hockey revealed Tuesday that he is planning to step down from the day-to-day operations of the company.
Hockey founded Plaid, a technology platform that connects various applications with users’ bank accounts and has a growing presence in the mortgage space, with Zach Perret in 2012. Hockey also serves as the company’s president and chief technology officer, while Perret is Plaid’s CEO.
And in the last few years, Perret and Hockey have helped build Plaid into one of the financial service industry’s biggest unicorns.
Late last year, Plaid raised $250 million in a Series C funding round that pegged the company with a reported valuation of $2.65 billion.
And now, after helping to found and run Plaid for seven years, Hockey told company employees this week that he is moving away from running the company and shifting to a role on the board.
“As Plaid has grown I, too, have had the immense privilege of growing and maturing as an adult, manager, and leader,” Hockey said in a letter sent to Plaid’s employees, which he later published on Medium.
“With this growth has come introspection — introspection as to what brings me joy, and where I believe I can create the most value and ultimately have the most significant impact,” Hockey continued. “I am now at a place where I have a personal desire to take a step back and breathe, taking comfort in the fact that we have hired leaders at Plaid that can and are currently doing that which I’ve historically been responsible for, just now in a more scalable way!”
According to Hockey, the decision to move away from the day-to-day operations of the company was “neither a rash nor a recent” one. Rather, the move has been in the works for some time.
“Over the past couple of years I have known that there would come a point at which I would choose to move to a purely strategic and advisorial role,” Hockey said. “And during the past year, I have started to work towards this goal.”
In that time, Hockey said that he has stepped back from some of his responsibilities, allowing others to fill the gaps and stepping in where necessary.
According to Hockey, he feels that now is the right time to announce his transition to solely a role on Plaid’s board. The official move will happen at the end of the quarter, Hockey said.
As for why Hockey is being so public about his move, he said he hopes to establish a new trend in tech.
“In tech, it has historically been taboo to talk about founders or executives transitioning to different roles inside companies. Leadership transitions need to become a bedrock of any company that desires to endure across decades,” Hockey said. “I’ve simply decided to be more public about my own transition than perhaps other founders have in the past, and in doing so I hope to set a precedent that leaders too should have the space to evolve in the ways in which they deliver the most impact.”
And as for Plaid, Hockey said that he believes the company is stronger than ever, making this move an easy one.
“I am regularly asked what has been my proudest moment at Plaid. My new answer is Now. It is a testament to what we’ve all built together that I’m able to transition out of direct management without doubting for a moment the certainty of Plaid’s future,” Hockey said. “I believe it is every leader’s job to constantly focus on hiring people better than his or herself, empowering them to constantly push above their current role. I have the opportunity to do so now.”
News of Hockey’s departure was first reported by TechCrunch.