Major Departures at WorldFirst
Several senior leaders have recently left London-based payments provider WorldFirst. Billionaire owner Jack Ma is believed to be driving these changes in the company. Key departures include CEO Jeff Parker, finance director Stephen Gregson, and managing director Danny Howe. The company has also seen the exits of its head of risk, chief information security officer, and group general counsel and compliance officer.
Ant Group’s Influence
WorldFirst, founded in 2004, was acquired by Ma’s Ant Group in 2019 for a reported amount of over £550m. The multinational technology conglomerate processes billions of pounds of international payments. According to sources, staff from WorldFirst’s parent company Ant Financial and sister company Alipay have been brought in to replace the departing managers. However, WorldFirst has yet to officially comment on these departures.
Jack Ma’s Background and UK Business Environment
Jack Ma, once China’s richest man and now a highly-recognized entrepreneur in the country, co-founded Alibaba in 1999. His decision to shift power away from London comes amidst criticism from Revolut CEO Nik Storonsky about the UK’s high taxes, red tape, and “extreme bureaucracy” in their business environment.