Business Irish

Sunday 4 December 2016

CEO was sacked, by email, from company he founded

Published 04/06/2011 | 05:00

BACK in 2005, John Nagle's stake in what is now Payzone was valued in the region of €100m. But he has since seen the value of the electronic payments business wiped out and has been forcibly sidelined from his own company.

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The Corkman had been a founder of the company, originally known as Alphyra, back in 1989, aged just 25.

In 2002, he teamed up with financier Barry Maloney to take full control of the business in what was a landmark management buyout.

Alphyra grew into one of the tech success stories of the decade. In 2005, the company was valued at around €450m, and 33pc of the shares were owned by the then CEO Mr Nagle and his management team. But in 2007, as the economy faltered, cracks developed.

A reverse takeover of UK rival Cardpoint couldn't stop the rot and within a year Nagle was ousted from his own company. In early 2008 Nagle was unceremoniously sacked from the company -- by email.

It came as losses topped €150m, but the fall from favour with his fellow shareholders was staggering.

Details of the sacking ended up being played out through the courts, and the removal of the Payzone CEO remains one of the most spectacular boardroom coups ever witnessed here.

Company accounts would later reveal that Mr Nagle received close to €1m in termination payments. He was still a shareholder in 2008 but pretax losses had topped €200m.

Those losses were more than Payzone's lenders were prepared to countenance and last year all of the tech firm's shareholders were wiped out under a debt restructuring.

Mr Nagle has bounced back with a new tech venture, Zapa, which provides technology to retailers to manage customer loyalty schemes.

Irish Independent

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