Company & Culture

John Cooley Joins AppDirect as CFO, Brings Unique Experience to Scale

By Ideas @ AppDirect / Apr 14, 2021

John Cooley joins AppDirect as Chief Financial Officer

For many financial professionals, the status quo is fine. After all, there’s not much reason to rock the boat if everything is going well. John Cooley, on the other hand, couldn’t disagree more: “Maintaining business as usual isn’t enough,” he says. “I find that investing in growth and leading change is much more satisfying than working in a steady state market.”

Earlier this year, John joined the AppDirect Leadership team as the company’s Chief Financial Officer. He brings with him a wealth of experience in the banking and technology sectors. “I started in investment banking, and I gravitated to growing new businesses or capabilities, such as securitization and electronic trading,” he says. “Then I co-founded a financial technology company, FXall, that built an electronic exchange for institutional investors to trade currencies.”

While there, he helped usher in a revolutionary new technology for the currency market—the internet. “The currency market used to trade on the telephone,” John says, “and we moved it online, which produced huge benefits for the market.”

John’s desire to drive impactful change is one of the reasons he decided to join AppDirect. 

“I loved the business and the vision,” he says. “There are several aspects of AppDirect that have parallels with my own experience, including building marketplaces and powering e-commerce. And subscription commerce in particular is such a dynamic and important space. I was really impressed with AppDirect’s success in building a leading subscription commerce platform.”

Beyond the product, John was also impressed with AppDirect’s culture. “Most importantly, I liked the people I met and the values,” he says. “I was really impressed with everyone I met through the interview process, which included the senior Leadership team and some board members. I like the tangible behavior-oriented nature of our values. It was very clear how the values contribute to a positive work environment.”

John’s experience has given him unique insight into scaling platform companies like AppDirect. “As a co-founder and CFO, I gained plenty of operating experience with the challenges of scaling and evolving a growing business,” he says. “I also I learned how markets work, what drives shareholder value, and how to appreciate the ‘voice of the investor,’ which is now the ‘voice of the customer.’”

John will take that understanding and use it to drive AppDirect’s business forward. “I am really looking forward to seeing what we can accomplish together in the years ahead,” he says.

“AppDirect has the opportunity to create a really substantive enterprise that makes a big difference in terms of making technology universally accessible for businesses of any size.”

He continues: “I’m sure our colleagues who have been here for a number of years can look back with amazement at how far we have come in the last ten years. And if we could fast forward to the future, I think we’ll look back with similar amazement with how far we will have come since 2021.”

When he thinks about that future, John says it’s in his nature to be optimistic. “I see the proverbial glass at least half full,” he says. “When it comes to people, I am good at assuming positive intent, and I am very comfortable taking risks. But I do my homework to understand and manage risks, and I don’t buy lottery tickets. I think having that constructive balance between optimism and risk-taking versus caution and diligence helps make me a better CFO.”