Paysafe Group appoints McHugh as new CEO

30 May 2019

Multinational online payments giant Paysafe Group has appointed Philip McHugh as its new chief executive, replacing Joel Leonoff in the role.

McHugh (pictured) joins from Total System Services (TSYS), where he had served as senior executive vice-president and president of the credit card processor, merchant acquirer and bank credit card issuer’s merchant solutions division since 2017.

He previously spent more than six years with Barclays, based in London, working as global chief financial officer of Barclaycard and CEO of Barclaycard Business Solutions.

"We are delighted that somebody of Philip’s calibre has accepted the role of CEO for Paysafe,” Paysafe board chair Stuart Harvey, Jr said. “His relentless focus on serving the customer, and his proven ability to drive operational excellence within complex financial organisations, has led to strong results throughout his career. 

“This track record combined with his visionary approach will be invaluable as we advance the company's corporate strategy.”

McHugh said he was “honoured” to have joined Paysafe.

“Paysafe has built an incredibly unique payments business that is scaled, diverse, highly specialised and frankly hard to beat,” he explained. “The opportunity to continue to invest in, and leverage Paysafe’s differentiated payments assets, as well as identify new areas of growth while working with a highly focused and energised team, is a very exciting one.

“I look forward to meeting the team and helping to take Paysafe to the next level of growth and scale.”

With McHugh taking on the CEO role, Leonoff will shift to a new role as vice chairman of the board and will remain closely involved in the development of the supplier’s corporate strategy. Leonoff founded Optimal Payments, the business that has since evolved into Paysafe Group, in 1997. He has served as president and CEO since 2008.

During his tenure the business has grown through a number of acquisitions, acquiring Neteller in a reverse takeover in 2011, followed by deals for Meritus Payment Solutions, Global Merchant Advisors and Skrill. It was then acquired by a consortium of private equity funds managed by Blackstone and CVC Capital Partners in a $3.9bn deal in 2017. In 2018 the business achieved global transactional volumes of $85bn.

“Joel is a true entrepreneur and has taken this business from humble beginnings as a Canadian startup to a global payments provider serving millions of merchants and consumers around the world,” Harvey said of Leonoff. “We would like to thank him for his terrific contribution over the years and we look forward to continuing to work closely with him as vice chairman of our board.”

Leonoff added: “I congratulate Philip on his appointment and look forward to working with him on the transition. I am confident that under his leadership Paysafe will continue to prosper long into the future.

“It has been an incredible honour to lead Paysafe and I am very grateful for the commitment and hard work of our people and their passion for creating a truly pioneering payments company.”