Silicon Valley IPO contender DocuSign hires CEO after long search

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - After a marathon search lasting more than a year, Silicon Valley company DocuSign announced on Wednesday it hired a new chief executive.

Daniel Springer is pictured in San Francisco, California, U.S. in this January 5, 2017 handout photo. Courtesy Gary Parker Photography/DocuSign/Handout via REUTERS

DocuSign, a $3 billion company that makes software to add legally compliant electronic signatures to documents, hired Dan Springer to take the top job.

Springer has experience taking companies public and looks set to be tasked with preparing DocuSign for an initial public offering, which is widely expected for this year.

Keith Krach, who has served as DocuSign’s CEO for more than five years, will stay on as board chairman, a position he has held for eight years, and plans to see the company through its IPO, Krach told Reuters in an interview.

Springer, 53, worked as chairman and CEO of Responsys, leading the marketing software firm through its 2011 IPO. Responsys’ stock later took a nosedive and Springer helped orchestrate the company’s subsequent $1.5 billion sale to Oracle Corp in 2013.

He said Responsys’ challenges were a good lesson in the importance of accurately forecasting quarterly growth. Otherwise, he said, “the market puts you in the penalty box.”

Springer declined to offer a timeline for DocuSign’s IPO, but said: “I don’t think there is a barrier to doing it at any point.”

DocuSign has more than 100 million users from industries ranging from construction to real estate, and has been embraced as a quick and secure way to sign contracts and other official documents using a finger on a mobile device.

The company also added a payments feature so users can make a down payment when they sign a contract.

However, the company has been on a bumpy road over the last year or so. Krach in October 2015 announced plans to find a replacement. In March of last year, DocuSign thought it had secured a new CEO, and went so far as to invite reporters to a briefing to introduce him.

Just before the event, DocuSign canceled. The candidate, Rick Osterloh, had decided instead to work for Alphabet Inc’s Google.

And in May, adding to the leadership uncertainty, four top executives left at once.

“That’s all behind us now,” Krach said. “As companies scale you need different talents at different stages. It’s a natural part of growing up.”

DocuSign has raised more than $500 million, securing a $3 billion valuation at its latest financing round in early 2015.

Reporting by Heather Somerville; Editing by Bill Rigby