First Data CEO Capellas steps down as firm narrows Q4 losses

First Data CEO Capellas steps down as firm narrows Q4 losses

First Data chairman and CEO Michael Capellas is stepping down to take up a role at Kohlberg Kravis Roberts (KKR). Meanwhile, the e-payments processor has narrowed its fourth quarter net losses on higher revenues and lower charges.

Capellas was installed as CEO in 2007 by KKR after the private equity outfit paid $29 billion for it. He will stand down on 31 March to take up the role of senior advisor, focusing on technology, at KKR.

Joe Forehand, a former chairman and CEO of Accenture and already a board member will takes over on an interim basis with Capellas continuing to serve in an advisory capacity.

The company reported fourth quarter revenues of $2.6 billion, up 12% on the same period the previous year. This was largely driven by the recent formation of the Bank of America Merchant Services alliance.

Net losses for the quarter were $338 million, compared to $3.2 billion in 2008, which included a huge $3 billion plus writedown. Adjusted Q4 Ebitda was $530 million, down from $645 million in 2008.

For the full year, consolidated revenue was up six per cent to $9.3 billion. Adjusted Ebitda was $2.1 billion compared to $2.6 billion for 2008. Full-year net loss attributable to First Data was $1.1 billion, which includes after-tax interest expense of $1.1 billion.

Says Capellas: "We have made great strides in a difficult economic environment, and I feel privileged to have worked with so many accomplished professionals that helped steer the company in the right direction. Markets are made at the bottom, and the accomplishments of the past three years will undoubtedly strengthen our position once the economy recovers."

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