Bulletins

Marqeta shares plummet following CEO's planned exit

Jason Gardner is stepping down, and the company's COO is leaving, too.

Jason Gardner_Marqeta Headshot 2021_edit

Gardner announced his plan to step down as CEO during the company’s earnings call Wednesday.

Photo: Marqeta

Marqeta shares fell about 25% Thursday after the company revealed a weak outlook and founder Jason Gardner said he would step down.


Gardner announced his plan to step down as CEO during the company’s earnings call Wednesday. He also told investors chief operating officer Vidya Peters is leaving.

Those changes and a “cautious” outlook in the wake of a slump in the fintech market triggered a selloff in Marqeta shares.

Gardner, who founded the company in 2010, said it was time to hand the reins of the company to a new leader.

“I always knew this time would come,” he told analysts. “When we went public in 2021, I promised to hand leadership to the best person at the appropriate time. After thoughtful consideration of what the next phase of growth will require, I’ve concluded that now is the time to begin the search for this person.”

He said the company will look for “a CEO with deep experience scaling an innovative, high-growth business.” Gardner said he would take on the role of executive chairman once his successor takes over.

Gardner said Simon Khalaf, who recently joined Marqeta as chief product officer, will take over Peters’ responsibilities temporarily. Marqeta is looking to hire a chief revenue officer, he said.

Gardner’s exit will mark the end of an era for a pioneering payments-infrastructure company that simplified issuing debit and prepaid cards for other fintech companies.

Marqeta has played a critical role in the rapid growth of the fintech industry, providing payments technologies to companies like Affirm, Expensify and Square as well as Wall Street giants like JPMorgan Chase and Goldman Sachs. Customers include Block, Coinbase and Affirm.

“The world is changing rapidly, especially around financial services,” Gardner told Protocol in a 2021 interview. "We see this great opportunity. And we're in the right place at the right time with our platform."

Marqeta went public in June 2021, and its stock rallied 13% to $30.52 on its first day of trading. But the market has changed dramatically since then. Marqeta has felt the impact of the downturn keenly as fintech companies have struggled with sluggish growth and hurdles to raising capital. Since Marqeta serves other fintechs, smaller firms’ struggles affect its growth prospects.

Chief financial officer Mike Milotich told analysts Wednesday that “many fintechs are being less aggressive about their investments in expansion.”

“Given the current macroeconomic uncertainty as well as fintech-specific challenges with significant declines in valuation and increasing difficulties in raising capital, we feel it is prudent to be cautious about the next several months,” he said.

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