Former Uber CMO joins fintech upstart as chief customer officer

Steve Brennen joins Australia-based Zip Co as its first chief customer officer as one of two executive hires

Steve Brennen
Steve Brennen

Steve Brennen is switching the world of Uber for the world of fintech disruption, taking up a new role as chief customer officer at Zip Co.

The former Uber director of marketing for APAC, whose departure from the digital upstart was confirmed earlier this week, is joining credit card disruptor, Zip Co, as chief customer officer. Alongside Brennen’s appointment, Zip Co has also recruited former SVP of product and engineering at Moovweb, Patrick Collins, as its new chief product officer.

Brennen is one of Australia’s most well-known marketing leaders and a CMO50 honorary with more than 20 years’ experience in sales, marketing and management. Prior to spending nearly three years with Uber heading up marketing across Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Korea, Taiwan and Hong Kong, he was with eBay, where he oversaw marketing, brand and PR for four years. His resume also includes roles with PayPal and Virgin Mobile and Virgin Media.

Brennen is also chair of the Association for Data-driven Marketing and Advertising (ADMA) and its parent umbrella group, Australian Alliance for Data Leadership (AADL).

Collins, meanwhile, has 12 years’ experience in product development in Silicon Valley, relocating from Australia to the US as founder and CEO of tech startup, 5th Finger, supplying mobile experiences for retailers such as Safeway and Victoria’s Secret. He’s joining the Zip business from San Francisco-based Moovweb, where he oversaw product and engineering for more than three years.

Zip said both appointments come at a time of rapid growth for the business. A key step in its growth trajectory has been the acquisition in August of global instalment tech platform, PartPay, for nearly $50 million, and SME lender, Spotcap, in September. The two deals are giving Zip a wider footprint outside of Australia and into New Zealand, the UK, US and South Africa, for its digital credit and personal budgeting products.

“It’s great to welcome both Steve and Patrick at such an exciting time for Zip as we transform from a local fintech to a global growth story,” Zip co-founder and CEO, Larry Diamond, said. “We have ambitious plans ahead for both product and marketing, and for that we need seasoned, evangelical leaders who can co-found the next chapter in our book.

“Our mission is to disrupt the broken credit card industry with a payments solution that meets the demanding needs of our users. In Steve and Patrick, we have found two exceptional leaders who will help us achieve that goal.”

Brennen said he's excited by the opportunity presented by a dynamic challenger brand to disrupt the payments market.

“I’m thrilled to join the talented and passionate team at such an exciting time – as the business scales in Australia and looks to global expansion,” he said. “As we continue to innovate, I believe we have a unique opportunity to enable millions of consumers and retail partners to make better payment decisions.”

Brennen’s departure from Uber was confirmed this week. The digital rides and food delivery company has appointed former global YouTube marketing director, Lucinda Barlow, as its new APAC marketing leader.

Zip is listed on the Australian Stock Exchange and provides digital retail finance and payments solutions. Brand underneath the parent company include Zip Pay, Zip Money and PocketBook.

In its latest FY19 report, the group recorded revenues of $83 million, up 108 per cent year-on-year, and cash EDBITA of $9.2 million. The company is expecting to target 2.5 million active customers, nearly double the 1.3 million reported in 2019, and $2.2 billion in annualised transaction volume in FY20, up from $1.1 billion this year.

Among Zip’s 16,000 retail partners are Target, Bunnings, Chemist Warehouse, Catch Group and Just Group, while technology integration partners include Adyen, BigCommerce and Tyro.

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