After Disagreements With Jack Dorsey, Square COO Keith Rabois Is Out

Jack Dorsey and Keith Rabois of Square

Photo: Owen Thomas, Business Insider

Square COO Keith Rabois has resigned after running the online-payments startup through two years of hypergrowth, according to a statement he gave AllThingsD.AllThingsD’s Kara Swisher reported that “disagreements” between Rabois and Square founder and CEO Jack Dorsey were “part of the reason” Rabois left.

As recently as September, Dorsey was effusive in his praise for Rabois. In a speech at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference, he said Rabois deserved to be called a “founder” of Square for his dedication to the company.

At an event that same month held by Technology Review, Dorsey also said that “discord” within companies should be avoided, as such disagreements inevitably expressed themselves in products. Dorsey is a fan of simple, elegant product design.

Square now has about 500 employees and is processing the annual equivalent of more than $10 billion in payments, a figure which does not include a deal it has to handle Square’s debit- and credit-card payments. It is moving to a new headquarters soon. It raised $200 million from investors including Citi and Starbucks in a deal that valued the company at $3.2 billion.

Here’s Rabois’s statement, which suggests the former PayPal and Slide executive and Yelp board member has found a new gig already:

It is amazing what Square has accomplished since August of 2010. When I joined, there were 17 engineers all reporting flatly to Jack. The local coffee shop served as our interview room. Leading our amazing crew has been the most rewarding professional journey of my life. I am forever grateful to Jack, for his confidence in me and to each and every member of the team for allowing me to learn from them.
But every day matters. And it is better at this point for me to be doing something different every day.
As a result, I’ve decided to resign from Square. I am very excited about what lies ahead for the company. Square could not be better poised for greatness.

I will have more to share about my next opportunity soon.

Dorsey gave this statement:

Today I accepted Keith’s resignation from Square. When he joined, we had fewer than 30 employees and under 1000 active merchants. Today, over 3 million individuals and businesses are able to accept credit cards with Square, processing over $10 billion annually. We couldn’t have done it without him and we wish him well in his next opportunity.

This is not the only tumultuous change the company has gone through at the top—some not as well noted or understood at the time they happened.

When Khosla Ventures invested in Square in 2009, it won the right to name a member of Square’s board.

In the spring of 2011, the investor behind that deal, Gideon Yu, left Khosla, but was said to be “likely” to remain on Square’s board; he former YouTube and Facebook CFO had been working out of Square’s offices once a week and serving as the company’s shadow CFO.

Khosla Ventures founder Vinod Khosla replaced Yu on the board a few months later, around the same time that Dorsey began splitting his time between Square and Twitter, the information network he also founded and previously ran as CEO until his ouster in 2008. Dorsey’s dual role has been a point of contention inside both companies, though most recently he has focused his time and attention on Square.

Recently Square revised its articles of incorporation to eliminate Khosla Ventures’ right to name a board member, though Khosla himself remains on the board. (As a major shareholder, Khosla can participate in the election of a pool of board members.)

Khosla and Square did not comment on the change in board structure.

Square recently hired Sarah Friar, a former Goldman Sachs analyst and executive, as CFO; she will be acting COO, the company said.

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