Another PayPal exec joins MX: 6 questions with CTO Wes Hummel
- PayPal vp Wes Hummel joins MX as a CTO, merely weeks after PayPal svp Jim Magats joined MX as its CEO.
- Hummel believes the next stage of development in the industry will see fintechs connect with the financial industry at large.
As August ended, open finance fintech MX announced the hiring of a new CTO, Wes Hummel, who will lead the firm's engineering and information security teams, and report to CEO Jim Magats.
Hummel has spent over 25 years building global engineering teams for financial technology companies. His most recent stint was as the vice president for site reliability & cloud engineering at PayPal, a company he served in a variety of roles for over 14 years. He was responsible for creating their infrastructure, operations vision and strategic direction – with a strong emphasis on security, quality, enablement, modernization, and efficiency.
Prior to PayPal, Hummel also served at Clarity Communication Systems Inc. and Motorola.
MX seems to be out shopping for executives at PayPal. Earlier in the same month, they scooped up Magats, PayPal’s svp for omni payments solutions at the time, as their new CEO. Magats himself was a long-serving employee of PayPal, having worked at the firm for 18 years.
"I've worked alongside Wes for more than a decade developing financial products that deliver better outcomes for businesses and consumers," Magats said. "He is a proven technology leader with a passion for people development and fostering strong cultures that execute at the highest level."
I sat down with Hummel to learn more about his decision, the transition, and the industry.
Q: How's the start to life at MX?
A: This is my first week on the job as MX’s new Chief Technology Officer. My first priority is to observe, listen and meet with the engineering team and our partners across the organization. I want to learn what’s working, what’s not, how I can support our customers to make them successful, and how I can support our team to reach both their professional and development goals.
Q: How are you finding the transition from PayPal to MX?
A: There are some big differences – mostly the scale of working at a company like PayPal vs working at a company that is growing fast yet is still a fraction of PayPal’s size. But so far, I’m loving the role of Chief Technology Officer. I’ve spent the better part of my career leading engineering and technology teams in financial services, and I see the skills as transferable to this new role at MX.
Q: What factors played a role in your decision to jump ship?
A: I wouldn’t be at MX were it not for Jim Magats, whom I greatly respect, as well as the entire MX team. I had a great run at PayPal, but when I made the decision to leave and learned about MX, their mission and vision stood out to me the most. I am now completely bought on that mission to empower the world to be financially strong and to help build the infrastructure to power the open finance economy.
Q: What were the key learnings from your time at PayPal that will help you serve your new role?
A: I’ve been fortunate enough to spend the last 25 years following my passion, which is building high-performing engineering teams across a number of different spaces, including technology and financial services. My passion is in building strong, efficient engineering teams that solve big, complex problems, working in tandem with our product, sales, customer experience, and marketing teams. Having been at PayPal as it grew 20x in payment volume from 2008 to 2022, I have experienced developing and growing systems at a massive scale, and that experience will help as we continue to grow MX.
Q: How do you see cloud-based banking and open finance shaping up?
A: The first step in helping power the open finance economy is making sure people can connect to their financial and fintech apps. By making faster, stronger connections between financial institutions (using APIs), banks and credit unions and other fintechs are creating a strong relationship with these hundreds and thousands of fintech companies and services that are doing amazing things for our economy. The financial industry, by and large, is well aware that in order to extend their offerings and improve consumer financial health, they will need to have strong partnerships with fintechs via APIs. This is one of the first orders of business for all of us.
Q: What does 2022 look like for MX?
A: The rest of 2022 is shaping up very well for MX. We’re hitting our stride in helping power the open finance economy and bringing together financial institutions and fintechs to drive better customer outcomes and experiences. Bringing my background from PayPal, I’m excited about rolling up my sleeves to continue building a powerhouse engineering team that solves big, complex problems – while working in tandem with our MX product, sales, customer experience, and marketing teams. We are all in this together and I couldn’t be more excited.