It’s the dawn of a new era for one of the biggest language companies in the world. Welocalize announced today the appointment of Paul Carr to CEO, taking over from co-founder Smith Yewell.
It’s a big change for a company that has been guided by Yewell since its founding in 1997. Yewell will continue to serve as a member of Welocalize’s board and looks forward to watching the company evolve.
“Our transformation over these last few years not only built a company that is in the top ranks of our industry, but a company that can be truly great,” he said in a press release. “The path ahead is the vision I’ve been talking about from the very beginning. The only limit is our imagination.”
Yewell’s successor Carr, a newcomer to the language industry, brings a wealth of experience in business growth. Most recently, Carr worked for institutional investment research firm Third Bridge. And prior to that, he was president of Axiom Law, which focused on corporate law and enjoyed a six-fold increase in size under his watch.
Carr’s business reputation made him an attractive candidate to steer Welocalize into its next chapter. According to Todd Solow, a partner at Norwest Equity Partners (NEP), his record of innovation is similar to the company reputation that prompted the firm to acquire Welocalize in 2015.
“Like NEP, Paul’s career has been focused on building teams and businesses,” Solow said. “He is a proven leader who recognizes the potential of the next generation of language technology. We are confident his expertise will identify new areas of growth for Welocalize, and we look forward to working closely with him to create long-term, sustainable value together.”
In a conversation with Renato Beninatto of Nimdzi Insights, Yewell said that Carr, an Australian, was the first of several candidates he and the Welocalize board considered for the role. And for the first time in their history, they wound up hiring their initial interviewee. In the near future, Smith plans to travel with Carr to each of Welocalize’s offices so the new CEO can familiarize himself with his new team.
Looking toward the future, Yewell aims to focus his immediate attentions on playing golf and, as a well-known music enthusiast, honing his guitar skills. However, it’s unlikely he’ll commit himself fully to a life of leisure. Yewell told Beninatto he intends his attention to board service, both on nonprofits near and dear to his heart and potentially with some of the investors who helped fuel Welocalize’s rise to prominence.
As he reflected on his many years of language work, Yewell told Beninatto he was proud to see several Welocalize employees featured in the recent MultiLingual women’s issue published in March. And that, perhaps, is his proudest achievement: the many careers that Welocalize helped launch.
As for Carr, he sees the potential for tremendous growth within the language industry. Given his career of driving business growth, Carr saw Welocalize as a worthwhile new challenge. In particular, he’s excited by Welocalize’s approach to language-tuned AI service, as well as the company’s focus on internal culture and long-term customer relationships.
“Recent major developments in language-based, generative AI are clear indicators that the language services and technology industry is in the midst of rapid transformation,” said Carr in a press release. “Welocalize is a tech-enabled company built for this new era of language services.”
Indeed, transformation is an apt word to summarize Welocalize’s 25-year journey. In an interview with MultiLingual magazine last year, Yewell said that a dexterous business approach was vital to Welocalize’s ongoing success.
“We would describe technological change as a wave: Either ride the edge to stay out in front or get crushed,” he said.
“What that means today is the ever-growing use of AI in the delivery process and complete digital transformation from intake to invoice,” he added. “If that is not easy, amazing, and consistent, we must fundamentally transform, and we are doing that.”