Daniel H. Schulman (born 19 January 1958) is an American business executive. He is president and CEO of PayPal and chairman of Symantec, formerly serving as group president of enterprise growth at American Express. The former president of Sprint‘s prepaid group and the founding CEO of Virgin Mobile, Schulman was responsible for American Express’ global strategy to expand alternative mobile and online payment services, form new partnerships, and build revenue streams beyond the traditional card and travel businesses.
Schulman was born in Newark, New Jersey, and grew up in Princeton, New Jersey. He was captain of the tennis and lacrosse teams at Princeton High School, and went on to receive a bachelor’s degree in economics from Middlebury College, and an MBA from New York University Stern School of Business.
His mother, S. Ruth Schulman, was associate dean of Rutgers’ Graduate School of Applied and Professional Psychology (GSAPP) from 1974 to 1999. His father, the late Mel Schulman, was a chemical engineer.
Schulman once told The New York Times, “I was born with social activism in my DNA. My grandfather was a union organizer in the garment district in New York City. My mother took me to a civil rights demonstration in Washington in my stroller.”
Schulman began his business career at AT&T, working more than 18 years there and becoming the youngest member of the company’s senior executive team, the AT&T Operations Group. Schulman started at an entry-level account management position; when he left AT&T, he was president of the $22 billion core consumer long distance business, overseeing roughly 40,000 employees.
In 2001, Richard Branson invited Schulman to become the founding CEO of Virgin Mobile USA, Inc. Schulman led the company from its national launch in 2002 to its becoming a public company in 2007, to its sale to Sprint Nextel in 2009. His tenure at the company was noted by the company’s growth as the “no hidden fees” carrier. By the time Schulman left Virgin Mobile, it had become one of the nation’s top wireless carriers, with more than 5 million customers and $1.3 billion in annual sales. Following the sale of Virgin Mobile to Sprint Nextel, Schulman served as President of Sprint’s Prepaid group until he moved to American Express.
On 30 September 2014, it was announced that Schulman would become CEO of PayPal, which will continue as a separate legal entity, split from eBay in the second half of 2015. His tenure was also marked by the $2.2 billion acquisition of European payment provider iZettle, PayPal’s largest-ever purchase. He has stated that his goals at PayPal include giving financial tools to the 70 million Americans underserved by the U.S. financial system. During the 2018-19 United States federal government shutdown, Dan initiated the idea for PayPal to offer $500 in interest-free cash advances to furloughed U.S. government workers, committing to provide up to $25 million in interest free loans. As of April 2019, Schulman announced PayPal’s plans to invest $500 million in Uber in order to connect the two marketplaces.
Schulman became chairman of Symantec (SYMC-NASDAQ), in January 2013; and is a member of the Board of Directors of Verizon. Schulman also served on the advisory committee of Greycroft Partners, a private equity company focused on early-stage new media and technology companies.
Schulman is on the Board of Governors of Rutgers University, the state university of New Jersey. He also serves on the board at Autism Speaks, an advocacy group dedicated to advancing research into causes and treatments for individuals on the autism spectrum.
Schulman denounced the North Carolina Public Facilities Privacy & Security Act that mandated people in public facilities use bathrooms in accordance to their gender at birth. He stated that “The new law perpetuates discrimination and it violates the values and principles that are at the core of PayPal’s mission and culture.” Schulman also cosigned an opposition letter with about 120 executives from major corporations. In protest to the new law in North Carolina, Schulman announced that the company was canceling its expansion to hire 400 people in the state.
Dan Schulman wrote in the PayPal statement that; “While we will seek an alternative location for our operations center, we remain committed to working with the LGBT community in North Carolina to overturn this discriminatory legislation, alongside all those who are committed to equality.” The bathroom restrictions in the law were repealed in 2017 in response to widespread criticism and loss of business opportunity.
Schulman was named by Business Week as one of the top 20 people to watch in media, and was named the Ernst & Young 2009 Entrepreneur of the Year. In 2009 he was named one of the top 25 most powerful people in the global wireless industry. In 2017, the Council for Economic Education honored Schulman with its Visionary Award for promoting economic and financial literacy to create a better informed society.
Fortune included him in the top ten in its 2017 Businessperson of the Year list, and in its 2018 list. In 2017, Schulman was recognized by the Brennan Center for Justice with its Brennan Legacy Award, named after the Supreme Court justice, for his contributions to democratize financial services and build a more inclusive global economy. In 2018, the Center for Financial Services Innovation awarded Schulman the first-ever CFSI Financial Health Visionary Award for his contributions to a “more accessible and inclusive” financial system.
In 2018, Rutgers University awarded him an honorary doctorate, and he delivered the University’s 252nd anniversary commencement speech.
When he was CEO of Virgin Mobile, Schulman led a partnership with StandUp For Kids, a nonprofit that distributes survival kits and a hotline number to homeless youth. To get a truer sense of what homeless kids experience, Schulman once spent 24 hours on the streets of New York City, unshaven, wrapped in a blanket, and without money, a watch, or a cell phone. “There’s a certain amount of deference paid to a C.E.O.,” he later said. “No one paid attention to me on the street. I consider myself a good communicator and a good salesman. It took me five hours of begging to raise less than a dollar. My entire concept of what is important changed. Time is usually my most valuable commodity, but for that 24 hours I had too much time. Forget Starbucks and a $4 latte – I walked two miles to find a 25-cent cup of coffee.”
Schulman has practiced Krav Maga since his teens has stated that he adheres the same philosophy in business. He said in an interview, “theres a philosophy in martial arts which is, ‘Never stand still.’ Standing still is asking to be hit. You always have to be willing to take some risks going forward. You cant stand still”.