PayPal Is Left with Big Shoes to Fill in EMEA Leadership


Mar. 14 2019, Published 1:45 p.m. ET

PayPal’s EMEA head steps down

The departure of PayPal’s (PYPL) longtime executive Louise Phelan leaves the company with big shoes to fill in a key market region. Early this month, Phelan made a surprise announcement of her decision to step down as PayPal’s global executive in charge of EMEA (Europe, the Middle East, and Africa) operations, the Irish Times reported. Phelan is departing after 13 years with the company. In her role, she’s been responsible for recruiting customers and driving revenue growth for PayPal in the EMEA region.

Having added 38 million new customers during the year, PayPal closed 2018 with 264 million customers worldwide.

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PayPal at the center of competition

Phelan’s departure comes at a time when PayPal is battling increasing competition in many of its international markets, including in Europe, where Chinese companies Alibaba (BABA) and Tencent (TCEHY) are making aggressive pushes to increase their footprints. Armed with their widely popular Chinese mobile payment services, Alibaba and Tencent want to be the default payment providers for Chinese people anywhere they are in the world.

Google (GOOGL) and Square (SQ) also have their sights set on the EMEA market and are all looking to take market share from PayPal.

As the target of this growing competitive onslaught, PayPal requires a strong international team to defend its turf while driving growth. In the coming weeks or months, investors will be looking to see how PayPal reconfigures its EMEA team following Phelan’s sudden exit in order to stay competitive in the region.


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