Michele Romanow becomes Clearco CEO as Andrew D’Souza moves to Executive Chair

Michele Romanow and Andrew D'Souza founders of Clearbanc
Michele Romanow and Andrew D'Souza founders of Clearbanc.
Clearco lost its CFO to Clio in January.

Toronto-based FinTech unicorn Clearco is facing its second executive shakeup of the new year, with company co-founder and CEO Andrew D’Souza transitioning to executive chair.

In an announcement published on LinkedIn, D’Souza shared that Michele Romanow, formerly Clearco’s president, would take over as CEO, effective today.

“I couldn’t think of a better steward to lead the company,” D’Souza writes.

“I couldn’t think of a better steward to lead the company.”
– Andrew D’Souza

D’Souza goes on to state that the decision to move out of the executive role was not board-driven, and that he remains fully involved in the business.

“I’ll spend my time on the highest impact work – long-term strategy, fundraising, strategic partnerships, corp dev, capital markets and executive recruitment.”

The former president of Nymi and COO of Top Hat noted in the post that the decision to transition out of the chief executive position came after a candid realization that he was not in the right role.

“The company has undergone enormous growth in the last year and the role of the CEO at our stage is to be an operator and deliver financial results,” D’Souza’s post reads. “I can firmly say there is no stronger operator than Michele in terms of predictability, accountability and execution.”

“Andrew is amazing and this is us both putting our talent to our best and highest use,” Romanow told BetaKit via text message.

The transition follows the end of D’Souza and Romanow’s well-publicized romantic relationship, started prior to Clearco’s founding. Sources familiar with the company’s operation told BetaKit that the break-up had prompted an internal review at the company last fall, caused by “some internal tension on who was in charge of what.”

D’Souza acknowledged the split on LinkedIn before noting that the pair continues to be “partners and co-founders in the truest sense.”

The news also come shortly after the departure of fellow co-founder Charlie Feng to start his own company, while co-founder Ivan Gritsiniak transitioned to interim CFO following the departure of Curt Sigfstead to Clio. The company is currently searching for a permanent replacement for Sigfstead. Last year, Clearco also brought on Ruma Bose as chief growth officer to lead its international growth strategy.

Clearco’s employee count currently sits at more than 500 people. The company says it has invested more than $3.2 billion USD globally into over 7,000 startups across three continents.

Last year was a notable one for Clearco, which rebranded from Clearbanc and surpassed a $2 billion valuation after two major raises. The startup also broadened its portfolio, expanding into new product lines, verticals, and markets.

Douglas Soltys

Douglas Soltys

Douglas Soltys is the Editor-in-Chief of BetaKit and founder of BetaKit Incorporated. He has worked for a few failed companies and written about many more. He spends too much time on the Internet.

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