With departure of CEO Aron Schwarzkopf, is Leaf withering?

(toby talbot/associated press)
(toby talbot/associated press)

Aron Schwarzkopf, the chief executive and a cofounder of payments company Leaf, is no longer with the company according to a statement from new chief executive Sarah McCrary, who joined the company from Heartland Payment Systems in March.

Heartland invested $20 million in Leaf in the fall, but, according to a source, there was a lot of unsettledness at Leaf headquarters since last summer.

It appears Schwarzkopf was forced out along with some other members of the company’s leadership team. Sebastián Castro Galnares, who cofounded the company with Schwarzkopf and was the company’s chief product officer, will stay on at Leaf in a lesser role.

There are also some rumblings that Leaf’s payments hardware solution, a small business tablet, has not had the stickiness that the company initially envisioned. While Leaf and companies such as LevelUp and Square are competing for shares of the payments market, Leaf executives believed that their tablet, combined with a suite of apps for small businesses, was a differentiator in a crowded sector.

However, word is that a lot of the small businesses that used Leaf’s payments tablet had become dissatisfied with the hardware, which led to the tablets being returned to the company.

In her statement, McCrary said, “We can confirm that Aron has left Leaf to pursue other ventures and that the board appointed me to the CEO position.”

She reiterated the company will continue to pursue its initial vision. “It’s important to emphasize that our strategy remains the same,” she said. “Leaf was the first mobile payments platform to take an agnostic approach to payment acceptance, enabling small business owners to choose the payment provider that best fit their needs. Leaf was also the first to open its technology platform to third-party developers, empowering them to create applications that address the myriad challenges small businesses face every day.”

“I supported this vision as Leaf’s COO, and will continue applying my wealth of payment technology experience to drive sales, customer success, and innovative technological developments in this new role,” McCrary said in the statement.

Dennis Keohane was a Senior Staff Writer for BetaBoston.
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