Following the unprecedented backlash over retailer commission, under pressure PayPoint has announced that UK managing director Seamus Smith and retail director Andrew Goddard are to leave the business.
Staff at the company’s Welwyn offices were told of the move following a board-level discussion last week. Retail Express understands that neither role is being replaced.
The decision to part ways with more senior figures follows the hushed announcement last week that chairman Warren Tucker has also left the business.
PayPoint has been roundly vilified since it announced a cut to the cap on the commission it pays last month. The NFRN has threatened legal action, prompting Goddard to speak to betterRetailing to inform retailers that there are “considerably more retailers who are pro-PayPoint than those who have a problem with it”.
Pressure on the retail arm of the business has snowballed, with retailers up and down the country turning off their PayPoint terminals in protest and questions being asked about the salaries and bonuses paid to those in senior management. Retailers have dismissed the company’s repeated insistence on its role as a footfall driver and created posters informing their customers of the cost of each transaction.
PayPoint is due to announce its next set of results at the end of June, which will come under intense scrutiny from retailers and city analysts alike.
Both PayPoint and the NFRN have issued responses to yesterday’s news that retail director Andrew Goddard and UK managing director Seamus Smith are to leave.
PayPoint have said that speculation linking the changes to commission charges is ‘surprising’ and ‘wrong’. The statement, in full, reads:
PayPoint is surprised by speculation wrongly linking recent management announcements with reaction to commission changes. The reports are inaccurate and we would like to clear up any confusion. PayPoint remains committed to delivering market leading propositions to our retailers.
Last week, Seamus Smith wrote to our retail partners to explain he has accepted a new senior position in a FTSE100 business and will be leaving shortly. Andrew Goddard is still working actively in his senior role with PayPoint but has plans to move on at a later date, so this has not been previously announced outside the company. Neither of these developments is in any way related our commission policies.
Last week, again wholly unrelated, PayPoint plc reported a change in Chairmanship to the stock market.
The NFRN responded to the news by immediately calling for a meeting with Tim Watkin-Rees to tell him about the need for “common sense” to prevail.
Chief executive Paul Baxter said: “PayPoint will have been thrown into obvious chaos with the abrupt departures of Seamus Smith and Andrew Goddard but our concern remains solely with our members who already make losses on handling PayPoint transactions and will find themselves losing even more when planned cuts on commission caps take effect on Monday.
“For that reason I will be seeking an immediate meeting with Tim Watkin-Rees, a founder of PayPoint who is taking charge in the interim, to impress upon him that common sense must prevail and for the decision to significantly cut commission caps to be overturned. If this proves unsuccessful the NFRN will continue to explore all avenues open to us.”
Read more analysis, retailer reactions and a response from rivals Payzone, in the forthcoming issue (May 19) of Retail Express.