First Data makes senior appointments in EMEA

Source: First Data

David Yates, president of First Data in Europe, Middle East and Africa, today announced new senior appointments that reflect the company's strong growth in Europe during 2005.

Stefan Klestil joins First Data as senior vice president to lead the company's operations in Central Europe, including Austria, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Hungary, Italy, Poland, Romania, Serbia & Montenegro and Slovakia. In 2005, First Data acquired Austria's national payment processor, Austrian Payment Systems Services (APSS); the operations of EuroProcessing International, covering Eastern and South Eastern Europe; and the card processing unit of Italy’s FinecoBank. It also established a merchant acquiring joint venture in Italy with Banca Nazionale del Lavoro. Mr Klestil will unite these businesses into a single organisation, aggressively focused for growth throughout the Central European region.

Mr Klestil, an Austrian national, has worked extensively with major financial institutions across Europe and the US. He brings a wealth of experience in the cards business, gained through senior consulting roles at Roland Berger and AT Kearney. Most recently, as partner and head of financial services, Central and Eastern Europe, for Roland Berger, Mr Klestil advised leading banking groups on card and processing strategy and operational improvement across the region.

Other appointments announced today include Paul Feldman, a British national who joins First Data as senior vice president, operations, for Europe, Middle East and Africa. As the company continues to grow, Dr Feldman will ensure the consistency of First Data's operations and delivery of the highest quality service to clients across the region.

Dr Feldman was previously divisional director, banking, savings and mortgages, at Nationwide Building Society – where, as a client, he gained first-hand experience of First Data's capabilities and service excellence. Dr Feldman will provide a genuine "voice of the customer" to inform and drive First Data's operational growth strategies and processes in EMEA.

In addition, First Data has appointed George Drimiotis as chief information officer for First Data EMEA. Mr Drimiotis was previously managing director of the company's operations in Greece, following First Data's acquisition of Delta Singular Outsourcing Services in Athens in July 2004.

In his new role, Mr Drimiotis will take a leading role in ensuring that First Data's European IT platforms and infrastructure are closely aligned with, and responsive to, client needs. Mr Drimiotis will retain responsibility for IT development in Athens, where First Data, last year, established a development centre for European customisations of its world-leading VisionPLUS card processing platform.

David Yates, president of First Data in Europe, Middle East and Africa, said: "The appointments we are announcing today reflect the strength and vitality of our business across the region. As we continue to grow rapidly, it is essential that we align our business to deliver consistently excellent service using the best quality infrastructure and resources. Most importantly, every part of the business must be focused on meeting client needs. Stefan, Paul and George each have a key role to play in ensuring that First Data continues to deliver on its promises to clients as we build our business across Europe, Middle East and Africa."

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