Until recently, Schulman was best known in Silicon Valley as the New Jersey newcomer who liked to wear cowboy boots. These days he’s more renowned for his leadership of the iconic payments company. Since coming on board in 2015 to run the newly independent PayPal, after stints at American Express, Sprint, and Virgin Mobile—where he was the founding CEO—Schulman has made some shrewd bets. Opening up PayPal’s platform so that other big players, like Facebook, can build upon its payments software has proved to be a savvy move, enabling more consumers to make PayPal their default payment option.
Meanwhile, Venmo, the peer-to-peer payments app popular with millennials, is starting to deliver on its promise. Schulman recently announced plans to roll it out to millions of merchants. That’s important because most of Venmo’s estimated 10 million regular users don’t pay transaction fees—but merchants will, so PayPal can convert its popularity into more revenue. That factor could help PayPal build on its already impressive growth: Last fiscal year, the company’s revenue came in at $10.8 billion, up 17% from the year before. —Michal Lev-Ram