Zapp poaches Barclays mobile chief Ian Sayers

Zapp poaches Barclays mobile chief Ian Sayers

Zapp, the British m-commerce company recently set up by VocaLink, has raided Barclays to bring in the bank's mobile and digital architecture chief Ian Sayers as its chief technology officer.

Sayers will join Zapp in October after 12 years at Barclays, where he was most recently responsible for the architecture of digital and mobile services for both retail and business banking.

In this role he has overseen the development of Pingit, the hugely successful mobile person-to-person payments service and, crucially, Buyit, which will - when it launches - let customers use their handsets to make purchases by scanning QR codes on adverts.

Securing Sayers is a coup for Zapp and a blow for Barclays, which has won a reputation as the UK's most innovative bank in the mobile money field under his leadership.

David Yates, VocaLink CEO and Zapp chairman, says: "Ian has a wealth of experience of challenging the status quo, building new mobile and web technologies and delivering bank scale implementations."

Like Buyit, Zapp - slated to launch next year - promises to let Brits link their bank accounts to their mobile phone numbers and make real-time payments for purchases online, in-store and in-app.

Sayers joins a Zapp team led by CEO Peter Keenan who was until recently group head of customer propositions at HSBC and also has retail experience as MD of the Currys and Dixons businesses in the UK and Ireland. Former Capital One CMO Justin Basini has also joined as chief marketing and product officer.

With Oracle signed up as a technology partner, the firm is working to bring banks on board, asking them to integrate the service into their mobile apps and then invite customers to opt in. Likewise, retailers are being sounded out about integrating Zapp at their online, mobile and real-world checkouts.

Having sunk £16 million into the project, VocaLink is now also calling on retailers and other potential partners such as telcos to buy stakes in Zapp in a bid to raise around £100 million.

"The opportunity to create a new payments eco-system comes along once in a generation. The team we have assembled has all the right experience and expertise to win in the market and deliver Zapp to millions of UK consumers, the financial institutions they trust and the retailers they spend money with," says Yates.

Keenan recently spoke to Finextra about the new venture:

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