The big processor Global Payments Inc. on Monday morning announced upbeat first-quarter results but also said its chief executive, Jeff Sloan, is departing after nine years in the role.
Sloan, who will leave Global Payments June 1 and will be succeeded by long-time president and chief operating officer Cameron Bready, celebrated the company’s quarterly results during a conference call with equity analysts, referring to the period as “the best quarter in four years.”
The Atlanta-based company said revenue grew 5% during the period, to $2.05 billion, compared to the same quarter in 2022, a result that came even as Global works to integrate EVO Payments Inc. The $4-billion deal for EVO, announced in August, closed March 24, so only one week of EVO’s contribution could be included in Global’s quarterly results.
Sloan was particularly happy with Global’s merchant-solutions business, which accounts for nearly three-quarters of the company’s revenue. The unit delivered $1.46 billion in revenue, up 9%, but top management now looks for the unit to generate a 15%-to-16% increase for the year compared to 2022, thanks in part to the EVO deal.
The merchant division took a hit from major bank failures that took place during the quarter—including the sudden collapse of Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank—but “delivered double-digit results” over the past year nonetheless, Sloan noted.
Meanwhile, Global’s top management looks forward to the integration of EVO. Global will work to integrate its point-of-sale technology with EVO’s services, for example, in global markets where Global and EVO services overlap, Bready said during the call. Combined, the two companies do business in 40 countries, he added, noting, “We see an opportunity to bring further value to the EVO relationship.”
The new relationship’s full potential, however, will require a good deal of work to realize, Bready cautioned analysts. “I wish I could flip a switch and start distributing our products through [EVO’s] pipes,” he said. “There’s a lot of work that goes into the revenue synergies we see with EVO.” The nearer-term benefit, he added, will be expense efficiencies stemming from the combination of the two companies’ acquiring operations.
Global’s card-issuing business, which delivered $490 million in revenue for the quarter, grew 5% and is expected to expand at that rate or near it for the remainder of 2023. Two big client additions for the unit, Sloan noted, were U.S. Bank and Citizens Bank. The company’s advantage in card issuing, he said, stems from its relationship with Amazon Web Services and its cloud technology. “The cloud sells,” he said. “It’s kind of table stakes. We don’t see any moderation in what we’re doing.”
Sloan, who came from a long tenure at Goldman Sachs to take the role of president of Global in 2010, assumed the CEO mantle in the fall of 2013. Now, after nearly a decade at the top of one of the world’s biggest transaction processors, he told the analysts “the timing is right” for him to step aside in favor of Bready, with whom he has worked closely for nine years. In particular, after three years of struggling with the effects of a pandemic, “We’re back in a period of normalcy,” he said.
As for his plans after leaving Global, he noted that for the immediate future, at any rate, “I’ll literally be sitting on a beach.”