H&R Block (NYSE: HRB) today announced that Julius Lai and Les Whiting have joined the company as chief product and experience officer and chief financial services officer, respectively, and will be members of the company’s senior leadership team reporting directly to President and Chief Executive Officer Jeff Jones. Lai will assume responsibility for all marketing functions as well as reimagining client engagement with a digital-first, multi-channel focus. Whiting will lead the development of a unified set of financial products to help ease the financial burden felt by far too many consumers and small business owners.
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“Julius and Les will be instrumental in leading the teams responsible for developing and delivering the products, services, and experiences that will propel H&R Block into the future,” said Jeff Jones, H&R Block’s president and chief executive officer. “They will help us grow the business by prioritizing small business clients, delivering new financial products, and reimagining the tax prep experience.”
Lai has operated at the intersections of marketing, technology, process, and people to build better customer experiences for global travel and entertainment companies such as Activision, Expedia, and Marriott International. Most recently, he served as the senior vice president of digital and loyalty marketing for AMC Theatres, where he led teams responsible for creating world-class digital experiences. In addition, he served as a former captain in the U.S. Air Force, with his last duty station at the Pentagon as chief of network engineering.
Whiting, who also leads the financial strategy for the company’s subsidiary, Wave Financial, is one of the leading payments industry experts in North America, with more than 25 years of technology, banking, and financial services experience. Most recently, he helped transform Wave from a software startup to a fintech disruptor and continues to guide its risk, anti-fraud, and regulatory compliance. His background in financial services and payments spans from large corporations such as First Data, one of the world’s largest payment processors, and TD Bank Financial Group, to fintech startups. He is also an active early-stage investor and advisor to emerging fintech and payment startups in North America.