Finablr appoints industry veteran Bhairav Trivedi as chief executive

The company also said its chief financial officer Rahul Pai has resigned

FILE - In this Monday, June 7, 2010, file photo, a Travelex Group currency exchange booth is shown at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport in Seattle. A week after a malicious virus infected its network, the London-based foreign currency exchange company Travelex has yet to restore digital sales and was reported infected with ransomware by hackers threatening to release personal data unless it pays a $3 million ransom. In a Jan. 2, 2020, Twitter post, the company said the virus had compromised some of its services on New Year’s Eve and that it took all systems offline immediately. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File)
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Finablr, the UAE payments and foreign exchange company, appointed industry veteran Bhairav Trivedi as its chief executive with immediate effect.

The appointment comes after the resignation of Promoth Manghat on March 16, Finablr said in a statement to the London Stock Exchange, where its shares trade.

"I am delighted that Bhairav has joined the board of directors," said Michael Tomalin, co-chairman of Finablr and chairman of the nomination committee.

"He is an experienced business professional with over 25 years [of] senior management experience in strategy, sales, marketing, business development and operations in the financial services sector."

Mr Tomalin said Mr Trivedi has "deep domain expertise in emerging technologies and payments, with a special focus on the consumer payment and remittance industry”.

Mr Trivedi, a former chief executive of UAE-based payments processor Network International, joined Finablr on March 10.

He also worked as a managing director and global head of remittances at Citibank.

Mr Trivedi obtained his MBA from Wharton Business School and has a master's degree in engineering economic systems from Stanford University, according to his LinkedIn profile.

Finablr also said on Wednesday that its chief financial officer Rahul Pai had resigned but agreed to support Mr Trivedi until a successor is identified.

Earlier this week, the company announced that it has been notified by Ernst & Young of its resignation as auditor amid various concerns that include "recent events at the company and NMC Health, the composition of the board of the company" and corporate governance.

Abdulrahman Basaddiq and Bassam Hage also resigned as directors of the company, according to the announcement made on Monday.

The new developments come after Britain's market regulator suspended trading in Finablr last month after a series of revelations.

Last month, the company said there was a "material uncertainty about the group's ability to continue" operations and appointed an accountancy firm to "undertake rapid contingency planning for a potential insolvency appointment".

Finablr is investigating cheques, dating back to before its initial public offering, worth $100 million (Dh367m) that may have been used as security for financing arrangements for the benefit of third parties.

After the announcement about a potential insolvency appointment, the Central Bank of the UAE intervened and began to oversee operations at Finablr's UAE Exchange business.

It also said an inspection team had begun an examination of UAE Exchange to "verify its compliance with applicable laws and regulations".

Finablr was created in 2018 by B R Shetty as a holding company to consolidate his finance brands that include Travelex and UAE Exchange.

It was listed on the LSE in 2019 in a deal that valued the company at $1.3 billion.

By the time its shares were suspended on March 16, the company's value had fallen to £77.2m (Dh328.4m).

Mr Shetty and two other directors resigned from the board of Finablr-owned Travelex last month.

The two other directors to resign were Mr Basaddiq and Mr Shetty's son, Binay.

Mr Shetty also resigned as the director of NMC Health, after the company was accused by short seller Muddy Waters Research in December of inflating cash balances, overpaying for its assets and understating its debt.

On March 12, Finablr cited a number of issues affecting its business currently, including travel restrictions to limit the spread of the coronavirus pandemic, the recent credit downgrade of Travelex’s bonds and a liquidity squeeze at both group and operational business.

A fund owned by Abu Dhabi's strategic investment arm Mubadala Investment Company acquired a minority stake in Finablr, a Mubadala representative told The National last month.

MIC Capital Partners, an investment vehicle owned and operated by Mubadala Capital, gradually accumulated a 3.4 per cent stake in Finablr.