EML vows to stop rot as CEO follows Liddy, directors out the door

Brisbane fintech EML Payments has lost its chief executive and ditched its new strategy just six months after its chairman was kicked out by investors angered by its string of controversies.

Apr 17, 2023, updated Apr 17, 2023
Former EML chair David Liddy who left after losses announced in February (AAP Image/Dave Hunt) NO ARCHIVING

Former EML chair David Liddy who left after losses announced in February (AAP Image/Dave Hunt) NO ARCHIVING

EML said today that Emma Shand, who was appointed in July last year in an attempt to right the ship, had resigned following a decision to change direction and bring in Barrenjoey to conduct a review of its operations.

Barrenjoey would consider options to sell all or part of the business.

Shand replaced Tom Cregan as managing director. Cregan remains an active critic of the company.

At its AGM in November, just over 50 per cent of investors voted against the re-election of chair Peter Martin and former BOQ boss David Liddy was put in his place. Liddy then quit in February along with other directors following the company reporting a loss of $130 million for the first half.

It follows a long running issue at the company’s Irish operations which faced regulatory controls on its business because of concerns about compliance with anti-money laundering and terrorism financing laws.

Since April last year, shares in the company have fallen 80 per cent, but they rallied on the latest news by jumping 7 per cent.

The company said Kevin Murphy would stand in as interim chief executive until an executive search found a permanent replacement for Shand. Murphy is a former managing director of the Bank of Ireland’s cards business.

“The board has resolved to transition away from the previous long-range strategy announced at the November 2022 AGM to focus on solving the challenges it believes are facing the business today,” EML said in a statement to the ASX today.

Its first order of reform was the swift remediation of its Irish problems with the Central Bank of Ireland. A board sub-committee has been established and would be “actively involved in regulator engagement”.

“EML has embarked on an enterprise-wide cost optimisation program that will streamline our operating model, making it leaner and  more efficient,” EML said.

“We have already taken steps to rationalise head office costs and are actively exploring additional opportunities.

“Under the renewed board, EML will focus on unlocking growth in our most profitable business lines where our products and services today are well placed to serve customer needs, such as gift and incentive business.

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“In recognition of recent departures the board has placed a priority on recognising and retaining our team members, particularly those with roles, skills and relationships that are critical to EML’s current business and future growth plans.”

Incentives to executives would now be tied to remediation delivery.

Chair Luke Bortoli said the board had spoken to internal and external stakeholders and formed a view on the urgent priorities of the business.

“We are focused on doing the right thing by our people, customers, regulators and shareholders and we are committed to taking actions that will help the business move through its immediate challenges, deliver sustainable growth in the medium to long term and maximise value for shareholders,” he said.






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