The colourful event, which held at Eko Hotels and Suites, Victoria Island, Lagos was attended by top Nigerian financial services executives. The send-forth provided an opportunity to appreciate Charles Ifedi, who has been with the company since inception, for the numerous achievements during his time as Divisional CEO at Interswitch Limited and CEO of Verve International.
A first class graduate of Computer Science from the University of Ilorin, Nigeria and an MBA holder from Cranfield University, Charles was a pioneer management team member of Interswitch and led the Verve and consumer facing business of the company.
Under his watch, Verve International dominated the Nigerian payment card market and became a leading African payment card brand helping millions of people conduct millions of transactions safely, securely and without hassle. Charles was pivotal to the strategic partnership with Discover Financial Services (DFS), a partnership which has expanded the acceptance of Verve card into 185 countries of the world including USA, UK and Dubai.
He also supervised the launch of Verve International in Kenya to serve the East African market, a development which has positioned Verve as the key to African Exchange.
Charles also spearheaded the introduction of Paycode, a revolutionary payment token which has made it possible for people to withdraw cash at the ATM and make payments on POS without the need for a physical debit cards. This possibility of cardless transactions in 2017, at a time the world was celebrating 50 years of the ATM, heralded a new era in payments. It was a clear indication of Charles’ vision and foresight that this could happen in a Nigerian company.
Speaking at the event, Founder and CEO, Interswitch, Mitchell Elegbe said: “We have come a long way since establishing Interswitch in 2002 and many of our successes can be attributed to Charles and his team and we cannot thank them enough for that. However, we are very confident in the future of Verve and Interswitch as a group with Mike Ogbalu III stepping in. His drive and passion for innovation and operational excellence is an asset that will help strategically steer Verve along the right paths for future”
Also present at the event was Mike Ogbalu III, who will be taking over from Charles as the new CEO of Verve International. Mike joined Interswitch in 2015 and prior to his appointment as CEO of Verve International, he served as the Divisional Chief Executive Officer, Interswitch Financial Inclusion Service (IFIS).
Trading as Quickteller Paypoint, IFIS is positioned to serve as the interconnect point and infrastructure for integrating and delivering electronic payment services to the unbanked and under-banked. Under Mike’s leadership, IFIS successfully increased the availability of digital financial services in financially excluded locations in Nigeria, with Quickteller Paypoint crossing the 10,000-agent milestone in its first year of operation.
Mike is passionate about improving the life of millions of Africans by working with partners to provide access to cost-effective financial products and under his leadership, it is expected that Verve International will continue to break bounds, pioneering technology and raising the bar in card services in Africa and beyond.