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VeriFone CEO names management team

Hewlett-Packard's VeriFone payments subsidiary gets a new executive lineup, part of its sales-driven reorganization.

The new chief executive of Hewlett-Packard's VeriFone payments subsidiary, Robin Abrams, has named her management team, but it doesn't include George Hoyem, who headed VeriFone's efforts in Internet payments.

Instead, Hoyem left last month for venture capital firm El Dorado Ventures. Hoyem said his departure was not related to the reorganization.

Hoyem's departure is the second this year by a key executive involved with the Secure Electronic Transactions protocol, which was created by Visa and MasterCard, for secure card transactions over the Internet. Steve Mott, who ran MasterCard's SET efforts, left his position in February but was replaced earlier this month by Art Kranzley.

VeriFone's restructuring, originally disclosed in April, creates a unified sales force and separate units for VeriFone's payment software and hardware operations. VeriFone has spent heavily to write SET software, but most of its revenue still comes from counter-top hardware devices used in retail stores to authorize card payments.

"We are trying to accelerate our time to market," Abrams, named CEO on April 6 to replace retiring Hatim Tyabji, said in an interview. Abrams, a veteran sales executive with experience at Apple Computer before joining VeriFone, described the reorganization as sales-driven.

Heading the hardware side, called the Appliance Systems Division, to stress VeriFone's interest in creating new payment devices such as Internet telephones, is Pierre-Francois Catte, who recently moved to VeriFone after 16 years at HP, where he was most recently general manager of HP's Convex division. Abrams stressed Catte's manufacturing, operations, and distribution experience.

Tom Kilcoyne, formerly head of VeriFone's consumer division that promoted smart-card readers in the home, leads the new Electronic Commerce Software Division, which consolidates three separate groups, including the ones Kilcoyne and Hoyem previously headed.

Running the newly unified worldwide sales operations from Paris is Jan-Erik Rottinghuis. A single sales force will report to Rottinghuis, although a dedicated software sales group will continue.

Eugene Buechele, who came to VeriFone last year, heads engineering and was given the role of chief technology officer.

Although VeriFone to date has concentrated on selling to its traditional financial institution customers, Abrams says telephone carriers globally show great interest in VeriFone's smart card technology. Northern Telcom, for example, has used VeriFone's technology for a smart card-enabled telephone.

"I estimate that probably 50 percent of our electronic commerce sales will be to accounts or people within accounts where we are not present today," Abrams said.

The reorganization also puts new emphasis on consulting, an area run by Richard Bailey.

"We don't intend to lead with professional services," Abrams said, "but our customers are asking us to tell them what to do--how to get a handle on this area."