It's often thought that leadership has to be unbending and inflexible to be effective, but Worldpay CEO Charles Drucker would disagree. Drucker openly expresses his passion for his employees and for learning, and he espouses a grounded leadership style that's based on open communication with his employees, his customers and the broader payments industry. It's hard to argue with his leadership approach given his results. In the six years since it went public, Worldpay has grown in value by more than 700 percent.
Worldpay started as a devision of Cincinnati's Fifth Third Bank before being spun off into a firm in its own right. Formerly known as Vantiv, Worldpay has seen its market cap expand from $3.6 billion in 2012 to $25.8 billion today. While others at Fifth Third Bank were skeptical about the potential that its then-Fifth Third Processing Solutions business had as a separate venture, Drucker was a believer in its success from the beginning: “I was in the top management at Fifth Third Bank, and I pitched during the downturn carving out this business as a way to create capital. I also knew the business outside the bank could grow dramatically.”
Drucker’s been at the helm of the company since its early days as a joint venture with private equity firm Advent International in 2009. It was Drucker’s deep knowledge of the payments industry that lead then-Vantiv to acquire Mercury Payments in 2014, whose technology was key to the firm’s development in the integrated payments sector. Drucker was also instrumental in carrying out then-Vantiv’s $10.4 billion cash and stock acquisition of Worldpay in 2017.
As the son of a cabdriver, Drucker approaches all aspects of the business with a down-to-earth point-of-view. “In my management philosophy I believe it’s always important to always stay grounded. Customers have a way of bringing you back to earth,” he says. “Sometimes you believe you are right to be doing certain things, that the trends are going one way, but by staying close to customers you see what is actually happening on the ground.”
Drucker’s colleagues at Worldpay believe his open, grounded approach makes everyone more productive. Mark Heimbouch, Worldpay’s president and COO, noted that “if you walked in on a meeting, you would not immediately realize he is the CEO, as he is always engaging others and is always keen to hear different opinions.”