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More Management Changes at Trustbuddy

The long period of transition at Trustbuddy continues, with sweeping changes to the Swedish company’s management team. 

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Trustbuddy boss Philip Mikal, whose tenure as CEO began on September 1st, has unveiled a brand new set of names to sit atop the Trustbuddy leadership structure. Mikal supplanted Linus Lönnroth as CEO a week ago. Linus had been holding the position on an interim basis ever since former chief executive Jens Glaso stood down in May. Lönnroth now resumes his role as CFO, and will be joined by a trio of new faces at C-level positions.

Kevin Albrecht becomes CTO, Chad Mazzola becomes CPO (Chief Product Officer) and John Ward joins the company as COO. All of the new hires joins Trustbuddy from Klarna, where they worked closely with Mikal. Klarna is a Swedish e-commerce company that provides payment services for online storefronts. The new Trusbuddy boss Mikal commented:

“I worked closely with Kevin, Chad, and John during my time at Klarna, and there is no other team I’d rather bring to TrustBuddy.”

“Our prior experience with each other, and with this market, means we can immediately accelerate the pace of our innovation and execution.”

To shed some light on the pedigree of the new hires, Albrecht (CTO) led Klarna’s communications infrastructure and the implementation of service-oriented banking systems to service the loans and payments of their customers in new markets. Mazzola (CPO) was Director of Product Design at Klarna – a division of the business which he established. And Ward (COO) formerly held product management responsibility for a new core banking platform that allowed Klarna to offer credit products to new markets. Ward has also worked in private equity and at a listed Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT). In the role of COO at Trustbuddy, Ward will ensure that the strategies developed by the management team are suitably executed. His remit will cover both operations and credit risk strategies.

But the revolving door at Trustbuddy is also ferrying some big names out. Former CTO Marius Gabrielsen has decided to leave, and will do so on 30th November. Long-time CIO Sebastian Hagman has also stepped down, effective 4th September.

These changes to management are the latest in a seismic sequence of events at Trustbuddy. We learned in May that the company would be phasing out its short-term, payday style of lending in favour of a long-term consumer loans model. The platform also declared a shift in its international strategy, choosing to refocus its efforts on core markets in Scandinavia, the Netherlands and Belgium. Lending activities in Poland and Spain have been curtailed. A cost-cutting program that was to be centred on implementing increased levels of automation was also announced, which meant a substantial reduction to the size of the Trustbuddy workforce.

But these were not the only aspects of the platform to be recalibrated. After having spoken to a Trustbuddy representative, we also learned that the company had constructed a proprietary credit scoring engine, in order to free itself from relying upon third party CRA data.  

Clearly the Directors felt that the newly shaped company also required an almost completely new management team. According to Bloomberg, Trustbuddy’s share price has fallen from 1.57SEK in early September 2014 to an all-time low of 0.14SEK a week ago on September 1st. The share price closed at 0.22SEK last night. But with the makeup of both the platform and its management now drastically changed, Chairman Simon Nathanson is feeling optimistic about the company’s prospects:

“With the changes announced today, I am confident we have an outstanding management team in place, one that is capable of guiding TrustBuddy toward long-term success.” 

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