The Supervisory Board of Wirecard AG appoints the American Dr. James H. Freis, Jr. (49) as Executive Board Member effective July 1, 2020. On the Group Management Board of the company, he will be responsible for the newly created department "Integrity, Legal and Compliance". The Legal, Contracts and Compliance functions will be bundled in this department.
James Freis has been responsible for compliance at Deutsche Börse AG, Frankfurt, since 2014. Prior to this, he worked for the international law firm Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton, Washington DC. Between 2007 and 2012, he was Director (CEO) of the United States Department of the Treasury's Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), where he was a senior U.S. government official responsible for the regulation of financial institutions. Freis was also head of the U.S. Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU), which conducts investigations into the implementation of and compliance with laws. He began his career in 1996 as a lawyer at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. He later served as Senior Counsel at the Bank for International Settlements in Basel, Switzerland, before joining the U.S. Department of the Treasury as Deputy Assistant General Counsel for Enforcement & Intelligence.
James Freis holds a degree in economics from Georgetown University and a doctorate from Harvard University's law school.
The Supervisory Board of Wirecard AG has also decided to expand the Executive Board by two additional seats, increasing its total number of members to seven.
In an also newly created sales department, a Chief Commercial Officer will manage all sales activities of Wirecard AG and promote the company's sales strategy to further expand its global market position. This includes the sales divisions Consumer Goods, Telecommunications, Digital, Travel, Small & Medium Enterprises (SME) and Enablement as well as corresponding marketing activities.
The responsibilities of the Chief Operating Officer will be reorganized and placed under new management. The Supervisory Board is already in talks with experienced managers on the appointment of a Chief Operating Officer. In future, the Group coordination of the subsidiaries in Europe, the Middle East and Africa as well as Asia will be bundled in this department. The Group's activities in North and South America will also be coordinated by the COO. In addition, the department will assume responsibility for human resources and facility management.
In addition, the Supervisory Board resolved to reorganize the responsibilities of the Management Board. The Management Board welcomes this decision.
The CEO of Wirecard AG, Dr. Markus Braun, will in future focus his activities on the strategic development of Wirecard AG. This includes strategic alliances, innovation management, the further business development of the Group, the coordination of business policy and the business divisions as well as corporate communications. With this decision, the Supervisory Board acknowledges the extraordinary and sustained growth successes of Wirecard AG under the leadership of Dr. Braun and appreciates his innovative strength, which provides impetus for the company.
The Supervisory Board is strengthening the Group's Finance Department and is placing capital market communications directly with CFO Alexander von Knoop. In addition to being responsible for investor relations, his area of responsibility includes Group financial coordination, finance and accounting and controlling, treasury, mergers & acquisitions, corporate finance as well as Group coordination of the licensed subsidiaries such as Wirecard Bank AG. The Finance Department is relieved of the Compliance and Legal departments as well as Human Resources.
With the appointment of a COO to the Group Board of Management, Jan Marsalek takes over responsibility for Business Development. As Chief Business Development Officer, he is responsible for the areas of New Ventures, Global Business Integration, Global Financial Services and Financial Services Development with the product area, value-added services as well as the expansion of the license area and Group coordination of third-party partner acquiring.
The Management Board Division Product, headed by Ms. Susanne Steidl, continues to comprise the Group Coordination Product, Artificial Intelligence, Development and Operations, technical subsidiaries and customer project management as well as Wirecard Labs and internal Group projects. Responsibility for the Group companies in North and South America will be transferred to the COO.
In addition to these adjustments to the distribution of responsibilities, the Management Board, at the suggestion of the Supervisory Board, will press ahead with improving the operational excellence of Wirecard AG. To this end, structures, processes and, in particular, the internal control systems within the company will be reviewed and designed in favor of a learning and continuously improving organization.
Wirecard has already set up a compliance project with nine focal points. These are Governance Framework (administration), Risk Framework (risk framework), Policies & Procedures Framework (guidelines & procedures), Business Partner Compliance Management, Reporting Framework (reporting), Controls Framework, Incidents/Investigation/Incentive/Improvement, Training & Communication and Tools & Data.
As already announced by the Board of Management, Wirecard intends to increasingly acquire its own licenses in markets outside Europe as well, or to enter into BIN Sponsor relationships (similar to own licenses). Wirecard is considering this wherever it makes business sense and is justifiable in view of local conditions. The Group thus intends to optimize efficiency along its entire value chain.
Thomas Eichelmann, Chairman of the Supervisory Board, said: "The business model of Wirecard AG is sustainable and highly profitable. With the resolutions adopted, we are setting the course for a continued successful future of the company. In particular, I am personally delighted that with Dr. James Freis I have been able to win an internationally recognized compliance expert for Wirecard AG. On the basis of the organizational and personnel changes that have now been agreed, the Supervisory Board has confidence in the Management Board and its Chairman.”
Markus Braun, Chief Executive Officer, said: "This reorganization lays the foundation for the next growth phase of Wirecard AG, which I am extremely pleased about. I would like to apologize to all our shareholders, customers, partners and employees for the turbulence of the past weeks and months. Wirecard is and will remain a sustainably highly profitable company. We will do everything necessary to lead our company from operational success to operational success with a steady hand, but resolutely and unwaveringly.”