Former Pace plc chief executive Michael Pulli will replace Paul Galant as CEO of VeriFone Systems Inc. when the leading U.S.-based point-of-sale terminal manufacturer and payment services provider is acquired by private-equity firm Francisco Partners, VeriFone announced Monday.
Galant, a former Citigroup Inc. senior executive who became VeriFone’s CEO in the autumn of 2013, “has decided to step down as chief executive officer” upon the $3.4 billion deal’s expected closing by Sept. 30, San Jose, Calif.-based VeriFone said in a news release. Galant will continue with the company as vice chairman of its board of directors, and also will serve as a senior advisor to San Francisco-based Francisco Partners on payments-industry strategy and opportunities.
Pulli, now with Francisco Partners’ consulting arm, was president of Pace Americas for eight years before becoming CEO of the entire United Kingdom-based company until its $2.1 billion buyout in early 2106 by Georgia-based Arris Group Inc. Pace is a producer of set-top boxes and other hardware products, networking systems, and software for the cable-TV, satellite, and broadband industries. Before Pace, Pulli was CEO at Digital Latin America, and earlier worked at General Instrument and Allied Signal Inc.
“I am very excited for the opportunity to lead VeriFone, and I look forward to working closely with Paul, Francisco Partners, and VeriFone’s leadership team as the company continues its transformation into an integrated provider of commerce-enablement solutions,” Pulli said in the release. “VeriFone is a tremendous global platform, and I cannot wait to get to work building value for customers, employees, and shareholders going forward.”
Galant succeeded interim CEO Richard McGinn, whom VeriFone’s board brought in to begin a clean-up after 12-year CEO Douglas Bergeron left amid mounting financial and operational problems. Under Galant, VeriFone introduced new product lines, continued expanding into software-based services and recurring-revenue products to counter the cyclical nature of POS terminal sales, and sold underperforming media and taxi businesses.
The U.S. conversion to EMV chip cards produced a windfall for VeriFone and archival Ingenico Group in 2015 and 2016 as merchants, especially national chains, bought chip card readers in droves. But slower EMV conversions by small merchants and network delays in EMV requirements for fuel pumps led to lower-than-expected revenues later. Meanwhile, VeriFone and other established POS terminal providers had to contend with new competition from mobile and tablet-based payment systems for small and mid-size merchants.
VeriFone chairman Alex W. “Pete” Hart, a former CEO of Mastercard, praised Galant for VeriFone’s progress under his leadership. “Paul joined VeriFone at a critical time for the company, and under his stewardship the company has made significant progress in its transformation from a terminal sales company to a world leader in payments and commerce solutions, enabling us to deliver significant value to our shareholders,” Hart said in the release. “Paul’s drive, vision, and deep commitment to VeriFone and our clients has positioned the company well for its next phase of growth in partnership with Francisco Partners.”