Tyro sticks to strategy as CEO Gerd Schenkel exits

It was back to business at Tyro Payments yesterday after the fintech elder severed links with chief executive Gerd Schenkel, who was hired amid great fanfare only eight months with a mission to transform Tyro into an SME bank.

Tyro’s decision to target the poorly serviced SME sector was prompted by non-executive director and Atlassian founder Mike Cannon-Brookes.

Cannon-Brookes scolded his fellow board members for lacking ambition and being happy to live off the fat from unlisted Tyro’s payments platform, which generates $8 million-plus in earnings from servicing the EFTPOS requirements of its 18,000 small business customers.

Instead of telling him to go jump, the board agreed.

Tyro secured a banking licence to lend and take deposits; it demonstrated serious intent in 2015 by raising $100m in capital, and then hired Schenkel, who founded National Australia Bank’s UBank, in October last year.

The Tyro board met yesterday, with non-executive director and ex-Bankers Trust Australia chief executive Rob Ferguson taking up the role of interim managing director until a replacement for Schenkel is found.

In the meantime, Schenkel’s departure as a result of cultural differences doesn’t signal a change in strategy. Far from it.

Since the capital raising, the Tyro workforce has trebled to 370 and is still growing.

Half are engineers, which for a tech company is no surprise, but Tyro also knows it has to build a sales culture to be a successful bank.

It’s therefore invested a lot of money in the customer-facing front end of the business.

Tyro’s first port of call to grow its SME bank was its existing customer base.


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Source: Tyro sticks to strategy as CEO Gerd Schenkel exits – The Australian