Multi-retailer, multi-channel gift voucher and prepaid gift card provider Park Group announced the appointment of John Sullivan (Ian) O'Doherty as its new chief executive officer on Wednesday, to succeed Chris Houghton, whose retirement was announced on 12 June.
The AIM-traded firm said O'Doherty would join the company on 2 January as CEO-designate, and would be appointed as CEO and to the board following approval from the Financial Conduct Authority, which it expected would be within the first quarter of 2018.
Current CEO Chris Houghton would leave the company following the announcement of the company's full year results to 31 March 2018, in June 2018, which the board said would ensure an orderly handover and smooth transition.
"We are extremely pleased to welcome someone of Ian's experience and talent as CEO of Park and are excited to be working with him," said Park Group chairman Laura Carstensen.
"There will be a comprehensive handover period which will ensure a smooth transition for the business."
Carstensen said the board was "confident" that it found "the right person" to lead the business in its next era of development, and maintain its momentum of consistent growth.
"We would also like to thank Chris Houghton for his outstanding contribution to Park over many years.
"Chris has overseen the development of our own pre-paid platform flexecash, our corporate rewards and recognition business and our MasterCard capabilities whilst also expanding our Christmas savings business.
"We wish him every success for the future."
Park said O'Doherty was bringing a "strong background" in financial services, specifically in banking, payments and card services, having worked at MBNA for 26 years, most recently as chairman and CEO of MBNA in the UK - a position he held from 2008 to 2017.
In that role, he was responsible for the re-engineering of MBNA's digital capabilities and reorganised the business, leading it effectively through the 2008 financial crisis to its ultimate sale to Lloyds Banking Group for £1.9bn in June this year.
During his leadership, MBNA was recognised amongst the 'Top 20 Great Places to Work in the UK' in 2016 and 2017, and named 'Consumer Moneyfacts Credit Card Provider of the Year' for four consecutive years to 2017.
From 2015 to 2017, O'Doherty was also deputy chair of the UK Cards Association, having been a board member since 2008, and he was a member of the interim main board of UK Finance New Trade Association from 2016 to 2017.
He has an MBA from Carroll Graduate School of Management at Boston College in the US, and is a fellow of the Institute of Bankers in Ireland.
Park said he is a non-executive director of Chester Race Company and is a governor on the board of the King's School in Chester.
"Thanks to the efforts of Park's management team and all its dedicated staff, I am joining a company in excellent health, with a rich history and strong prospects for further growth and success," commented Ian O'Doherty.
"I look forward to working with the team to continue Park's proud tradition in customer service and innovation."