A former marketer of Facebook and Paypal is joining Robinhood as its new chief marketing officer.
Christina Smedley has joined the Millenial-focused brokerage firm as its new CMO. Prior to Robinhood, Smedley spent nearly five years working in marketing on focus areas at Facebook working on Facebook Messenger before working on cryptocurrency products like the digital payments wallet Calibra now known as Novi.
In a blog post today announcing Smedley’s role, Robinhood cited her track record of “bringing humanity to financial and technology-based brands.” And in a tweet, Robinhood co-founder and co-CEO Vladimir Tenev said Smedley “brings such a wealth of experience from leading marketing efforts at companies like PayPal and Facebook.”
Over the past two decades, Smedley has worked on marketing efforts at various tech companies. From 1999 through 2004, she was the director of worldwide communication at Amazon. After that, she spent nearly eight years at Edelman, working with clients such as Unilever before becoming executive vice president and global chair of the public relations powerhouse’s consumer marketing division. She then spent several years on the brand team at PayPal.
Smedley joins Robinhood at a time of both growth and heightened regulatory scrutiny. Between the first and second quarters of 2020, the company doubled revenues from its payment for order flow—earned from the buy and sell orders that users direct to larger trading firms—from $91 million to $180 million. However, after a 20-year-old committed suicide in June after mistakenly thinking he had lost $730,000, members of Congress have questioned whether the company properly screens its 10 million users before allowing them to trade securities. (The company’s founders have since then pledged to tighten eligibility criteria, increase, educational resources, and upgrade user interfaces.) And just a few weeks ago, Robinhood suspended the launch of a new division in the United Kingdom to focus on its core U.S. business.
Robinhood also has been building out a team to deal with regulatory issues by recruiting former employees of the Securities and Exchange Commission. In May, the company hired former SEC commissioner Dan Gallagher as its new chief legal officer. And last month, Lucas Moskowitz, SEC Chairman Jay Clayton’s former chief of staff, joined Robinhood as its deputy general counsel for regulatory, litigation and government affairs.
Smedley was not available for an interview about her new role. However, in a statement, she said she downloaded the Robinhood app in 2015, adding that she’s “valued the company’s focus on customer experience and the impact it has had for those who can now access financial markets in a very refreshing way.” She’ll also be tasked with helping Robinhood stand out in a competitive market that includes TD Ameritrade and Charles Schwab—which like Robinhood both offer free trading—as well as Etrade.
“Robinhood is already well-loved and has enormous potential, and it truly helps people do more with their money and take control of their financial destinies,” Smedley said. “With so much changing around us, building a brand enabling this sort of empowerment and connecting with our customers — especially those who can really thrive from it — is beyond exciting.”