Don’t call it a retirement, call it a new chapter in life.
Matt Taylor, the 44-year-old Durangoan who has led a “fairy tale” life becoming perhaps the most significant player in diversifying Southwest Colorado’s tourism-based economy, will “retire” on New Year’s Eve.
The executive vice president of global integrated payments and small-business commerce at Worldpay’s 350-employee Durango office plans to spend time with his daughters and enjoy Southwest Colorado.
Roger Zalneraitis, economic development manager of the Southern Ute Indian Tribe and former executive director of the La Plata County Economic Development Office, said Taylor’s departure is a milestone in the region’s economic history.
“The role Matt played at Mercury, then Vantiv and Worldpay, was incredible” Zalneraitis said. “As a Fort Lewis alumnus, he led the creation of perhaps the first only billion-dollar tech company in rural Colorado, right here in Durango. He’s also a great person overall, a wonderful father and a delight to know.
“Matt deserves some time off, and after that I eagerly await hearing what his next steps will be.”
New Year’s Eve departureTaylor will leave Worldpay after leading the integrated payments segment of the firm for 16 years – since becoming CEO of Mercury, the Durango startup founded by Marc and Jeff Katz to handle small-business payment processing.
He plans to focus – at least for a year – on his three young daughters, building relationships with friends and living the idyllic Durango lifestyle with most of the day spent on a mountain or in a river.
The opportunity to leave the company came after FIS, a far larger company, acquired Worldpay in April.
Taylor realized eventually he would either have to assume a larger executive role in a company that had grown from 8,000 employees to more than 55,000 or leave as FIS reorganized the management team.
The larger role would have placed additional demands on him when he wanted more time with his daughters.
“I had a lot of opportunities to take a really big role with FIS, but I thought for a long time about that. And I decided it’s very rare that you are as young as I am, 44 – I have young kids 15, 12 and 8, are my daughters’ ages – I live in a place I love and want to stay, I’ve got the landscape for a great life, but that life has always been an accessory to the job,” he said.
New Year’s Eve will begin Taylor’s one-year noncompete clause he signed as part of his departure from FIS. In a year, Taylor said he will begin looking for “the next big thing,” another business opportunity he can develop from Durango.
‘Are you kidding?’“When I started talking to my girls about it ... I could see my girls smile with like almost like, ‘Are you kidding? You’re actually going to be around, you know, all the time?’”
After talks with his daughters, family and friends, Taylor realized the correct path was to step away from the career ladder and spend more time as a father.
“I’m going to take a break, and I’m going to completely empty myself from the pull – the conscious and unconscious pull of that hard work – and be fully present in my life, and especially with my girls,” he said. “And then, however long that takes, I’ll be whoever I am on the other side of that, then I’ll figure out what to do.”
Taylor is confident another major business opportunity will come, an opportunity he can develop and nurture from Southwest Colorado. But for now, business will be on the back burner.
“I don’t care when (a business opportunity) comes, because I know it will. I don’t want to think about it right now because I want to be fully present, come out the other side. Because I’m going to be different, and then I’ll figure it out,” he said.
Another Mercury?Can another Mercury-like startup emerge today in Durango? Taylor says yes.
“Yeah, you can still do it in Durango,” he said of successful startups. “Now, look to (Mercury’s) scale. I mean, we sold that company for almost $2 billion at the end of the day. That’s just fairy-tale stuff. But you don’t need that. Startups, because of the way that technology works, social media, there’s all kinds of platforms to build cool businesses anywhere.”
He added, “I think, now more than ever you can do something successful and edgy and do a startup in someplace like Durango.”
Free from work’s demandsTaylor is looking forward to the day when leading Worldpay’s Durango operation doesn’t compete with time he can spend with his family.
“You know they’ll call anytime. The job tells you everything: when you travel, when you see the kids, what time you eat. You know, it determines everything. I didn’t mind it because it was a phenomenal experience,” he said. “But I just didn’t realize what it would be like for that energy to be gone so that every moment that I spend with those girls, whatever I’m doing, it’s fully present.”
Taylor also feels Worldpay’s small-business section will be in good hands in Durango.
“I feel really good, that’s the other thing. I feel really good about what the company, FIS, is going to do,” he said.
FIS in DurangoFIS market dominance in providing banking apps in combination with Worldpay’s dominance in payment processing and the Durango office’s specialty, offering integrated payments to small businesses, Taylor said, will combine to make even more growth likely throughout FIS’ varied operations, including in Durango.
“The combination of their (FIS’) presence and influence in banks and our (Worldpay), payment products and relationships with businesses is a home-run combination,” he said. “The industrial chemistry in this one is rock solid.”
Little overlap exists in FIS products and, Taylor said, that will create opportunity for development of integrated payments by meshing it with FIS’ suite of banking applications.
“In terms of my business, the integrated payments side,” he said, “there’s still a whole lot of runway, even more opportunity now that we’re combining with banks in a way that cross-sell products, things like that, a lot more opportunity.”
‘No plans to change’Taylor scoffs at the notion that his departure might lead Worldpay to reduce or eliminate the Durango operation – saying the 80,000-square-foot building is not going anywhere anytime soon.
“There are no plans to change anything in Durango,” he said.
The startup culture at Mercury is now mostly a memory, Taylor said, and an attractive executive role at FIS had its drawbacks:
“You know, on the other side of it is: There are 55,000 people. So, you’ve got to stomach the inevitability of being a larger organization being run with large, you know, corporate policies and procedures. That’s the nature of the beast. It has to be that way.”
Worldpay is in strong hands under a “great leadership” team at FIS led by CEO Gary Norcross, and Taylor said he is confident FIS will remain focused on building its integrated payments division in Durango.
He said of his departure: “It doesn’t leave like a dip. It’s in really good hands.
“I’d love to contribute. But in the balance of inspiration for life versus the balance of inspiration from work, life won out.”