From his background in economics, marketing, and sales, Chris Ridd, Managing Director of Xero Australia, stopped working for US-based multinationals to take on the role with the New Zealand-based start-up in late 2010.
"I spent 15 years at Microsoft, and my last role before I went on to Xero was running their business applications division, which was their Dynamics brand," he says. "That was a great experience because it was multidiscipline: sales, marketing, channel, and product."
"I envisioned that would be my last gig at Microsoft, and that role certainly prepared me for this because having multiple disciplines gave me a good launch pad to go into a managing director role. I've always intended to get out of a big corporate and do something that was smaller in the start-up space, and that's exactly what I did."
However, leaving Microsoft also meant leaving the extensive resource network of the organisation to take on greater responsibility with a company still in its infancy. "When I came into this role, the business was starting to ramp up, so I needed to recruit staff and understand a whole lot of governance issues since I was basically a company director. I also had a couple of legal issues in the first year."