Wave CEO Kirk Simpson to step down three years after acquisition by H&R Block

Former Mastercard, Afterpay exec Zahir Khoja will replace Simpson.

Kirk Simpson, co-founder and CEO of Toronto FinTech firm Wave Financial, has announced that he is stepping down at the end of this month.

The move comes three years after Wave was acquired by international tax preparation company H&R Block for $537 million CAD in 2019, in what was then one of the largest ever Canadian tech exits.

Wave recently hit $100 million CAD in annual revenue, a milestone Simpson said made him realize it was time to pass the baton.

Simpson is set to be replaced as CEO by former Mastercard and Afterpay executive Zahir Khoja, who is joining Wave on July 1. Khoja most recently worked at Australian buy now, pay later firm Afterpay, where he serves as general manager of the company’s North American operations. In a Twitter thread regarding the move, Simpson described Khoja as “a natural fit in all aspects.”
 

Wave, which provides bookkeeping and payments solutions to small businesses, was founded in 2009 by Simpson and James Lochrie, now of Calgary VC Thin Air Labs.

The Toronto-based company recently reached $100 million CAD in annual revenue during its last fiscal year, a milestone Simpson said made him realize it was time to “pass the reigns on to a new leader who will guide Wave through its next phase of growth.”

“We accomplished what I always hoped we would do – build a business that lives and breathes to support small business owners in their very personal journey,” said Simpson.

RELATED: Wave to be acquired by H&R Block for $537 million CAD

Simpson told The Globe and Mail that the decision to step down was entirely his own, and plans to take a few months off before starting another company.

Including through his time at Afterpay, Khoja has years of FinTech and financial services experience, serving in various leadership roles for nearly a decade at Mastercard, rising to executive VP of global merchant solutions and partnerships.

At Wave, Khoja will report to H&R Block president and CEO Jeff Jones, as a member of Block’s senior leadership team. “After a thorough search for Kirk’s replacement, we were thrilled when we met Zahir who has an entrepreneurial spirit, is a leader in the fintech industry, and is ready to guide Wave’s future success,” said Jones.

Feature image of Kirk Simpson from Wave Financial.

Josh Scott

Josh Scott

Josh Scott is a BetaKit reporter focused on telling in-depth Canadian tech stories, tracking Canada’s innovation economy and the people and companies building it, and breaking news. His coverage is more complete than his moustache.

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