After overseeing a rocky ride for the company’s share price over the past year, Tom Cregan has resigned as CEO of global payment solutions company EML Payments (ASX: PML) to make way for Emma Shand – a former Nasdaq executive.
Following a decade at the helm, Cregan has offered no reason for quitting his $2.4 million-a-year job, ending a reign that has seen EML Payments grow into a multibillion-dollar company with operations in 32 countries.
The Brisbane-based EML has faced a host of challenges that have seen the company’s share price freefall from a peak of $5.75 in April last year. The stock took another battering this morning after Cregan’s departure was announced, slumping almost 22 per cent to a low of $1.00 during today's lunchtime session.
EML Payments says the change of leadership is effective immediately and that the move was the result of a 'mutual agreement' reached between Cregan and the board.
"Succession planning has long been a core focus for the EML board, which has laid the foundation for a smooth transition within the company’s executive leadership team," a company spokesman tells Business News Australia.
Shand, who is currently a non-executive director of the company, is expected to focus heavily on the group’s European expansion as she steps into the CEO's position.
EML earlier this month was awarded a €210 million ($320 million) contract by the Spanish Government to support a post-pandemic stimulus package that will see 500,000 virtual pre-paid cards loaded with €400 each ($602) issued to eligible 18-year-olds to spend on various cultural products and activities.
EML chairman Peter Martin says Shand, who has been on the EML board since September last year, will "dedicate substantive time and presence in Europe" as CEO.
“This is an exciting time of opportunity for EML, and Emma has an ideal set of attributes to lead the company into the future,” says Martin.
“Emma will provide highly professional leadership through a period of very rapid change. She brings a deep appreciation of the exciting growth opportunities ahead for EML in a world rapidly transitioning to digital payments. Importantly, she has a very impressive track record initiating and overseeing complex, transformational change.”
Shand has 25 years’ experience in technology, capital markets and diversified financial services including 16 years with Nasdaq, as both vice president of South-East Asia and head of market development in the Asia Pacific.
“I have been very impressed by the dedication and commitment of the EML team and am incredibly excited to lead EML’s pursuit of payments innovation, integrity and delivery of outstanding payment experiences to our global customers,” says Shand.
Meanwhile, Martin paid tribute to Cregan who he says has been "an integral part of the EML growth story for over a decade".
“He has tirelessly led the company from a small technology business in Australia to a diversified payments leader operating in 32 countries. EML has been an exciting growth story of rapid international expansion, not without its challenges. Without Tom’s deep payments knowledge, drive and commitment, EML would not be what it is today.”
Among the recent challenges faced by EML Payments is a weaker than expected FY22 earnings result revealed in its most recent December half. Despite posting a 408 per cent surge to $4.7 billion in gross dollar volume, EML’s guidance was hit by an expected 30 percentage-point fall in operating cashflow for FY22.
In October last year, EML’s Irish-based subsidiary PFS Card Services was hit by limits to its pre-paid card programs imposed by the Central Bank of Ireland. The subsidiary, which accounts for more than a quarter of EML's global revenue, was scrutinised by the regulator in May over its governance, compliance, control frameworks and other matters.
The business continues to work co-operatively with the Central Bank of Ireland to address its concerns. EML maintains the matter has helped strengthen its management, system and governance, with the CBI confirming last November that it would not impose broad-based reductions in limit controls on the company's programs.
Confidence in the company was also rattled in April when EML revealed Bain Capital had abandoned takeover negotiations that were initiated earlier this year.
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