With plans to expand throughout SouthEast Asia next year, digital payments company Novatti Group (ASX: NOV) has turned heads with the appointment of Abigail Cheadle to their Board of Directors, bringing with her more than 30 years of experience in corporate strategy.
Ms Cheadle is the first new Board appointment by Novatti since they were added to the S&P/ASX All Technology Index in September 2021, an index that labelled the Melbourne-based fintech as one of the fastest growing on the ASX.
“We are delighted to welcome Abigail to the Novatti board. Abigail brings a tremendous amount of both executive and board experience, including in successfully guiding companies operating in Asia,” said Novatti Non-Executive Chairman, Peter Pawlowitsch.
The appointment of Ms Cheadle comes at an interesting time for Novatti whose Board is largely made up of technology specialists that have guided the establishment of their digital payments ecosystem that acts as its foundations for new payment services.
A Chartered Accountant whose career has spanned Asia, Europe, the Middle East, and Australia, Ms Cheadle has led professional services practices for a number of global firms, including EY, Deloitte, and KordaMentha. With a focus on corporate strategy and risk management, she spent 17 years in Asia advising through difficult economic periods that included the Asian Financial Crisis.
Overcoming these, one of her notable achievements was advising Indonesian-listed consumer finance company, BFI Finance Indonesia, during which time its market cap increased 10x.
This expertise in the region is likely to have appealed specifically to Novatti which has flagged its intentions to expand its digital payments network throughout SouthEast Asia. These expansion plans will be underpinned by their recent $8.4 million acquisition of Malaysian fintech ATX, as well as their growing presence in blockchain technology and cryptocurrency.
Just last week, Novatti won the Best Fintech Payments Provider award at the 6th Annual FinTech Awards while also being a finalist in Blockchain Australia’s Blockies award in the Solutions Provider of the Year category.
While ATX has more than 31,000 digital payment touchpoints in Malaysia, Novatti is keen to expand the business throughout the SouthEast Asia region. The biggest potential opportunity for the Company could come from Indonesia, with the country being the fourth most populous in the world, home to 275 million residents.
In Google’s recently released 2021 e-Conomy report, data insights show the huge growth potential in Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Philippines, Vietnam and Indonesia – collectively South East Asia – where the majority of the population is un-banked.
Although these same residents function primarily through cash economies, 40 million people in SouthEast Asia became new internet users in 2021, bringing the internet penetration in SE Asia to 75%.
The overarching theme of the report is that SE Asia is becoming so technologically advanced, that the internet economy in the region will reach USD $1 Trillion by 2030. Once this is achieved, approximately 50% of all retail spending will be online (vs. ~10% today) and, 70-80% of transaction value will be fully digital (vs. ~40% today).
Given Cheadle’s previous success in the region, more corporate activity could soon been on the agenda for Novatti in SouthEast Asia
Alongside her appointment by Novatti, Cheadle will continue serving as a Non-Executive Director of consumer electronics manufacturer Shriro Holdings (ASX: SHM). Previous Board positions were held at data technology company Isentia (ASX: ISD) prior to its $67 million takeover in June 2021 at a 157% premium, as well as online clothing platform SurfStitch (ASX: SRF) and intellectual property services provider, QANTM Intellectual Property (ASX: QIP).
“Abigail has strong networks in Asia and experience in driving growth in financial services companies in that region,” said Novatti Managing Director, Peter Cook.
“I’m very much looking forward to working with Abigail and to the great contributions she will bring based on many years of experience.”
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