Global advisory board

Since 2008, the CPI Advisory Board has played a key role in setting the direction and agenda for CPI’s activities. Industry thought leaders from leading commercial cards and payments organizations meet several times a year to provide input and discuss key issues facing the industry. The CPI Advisory Board has been instrumental in setting the direction of the organization and providing guidance to the industry. Members include thought leaders from all parts of the commercial payments value chain.

Steve Abrams
The Abrams Group Ltd

Steve L. Abrams was most recently group executive, Global Commercial Products, at Mastercard Worldwide. In this position, he was responsible for leading the development, management, and growth of the global business-to-business (B2B) programs, marketed through financial institutions to small, mid-size, and large corporations as well as public sector entities for MasterCard Worldwide from 1994 – 2010. Mr. Abrams joined Mastercard in 1990 as vice president, Member Relations, for the Eastern Region, and is an over 36-year veteran of the retail and commercial banking industry, with experience in credit card marketing, sales, product development, and portfolio management. Mr. Abrams has managed the merchant business, ATM networks, an AI based personal financial planning system, home banking, and consumer credit businesses; developed new retail bank channels of distribution; and created innovative consumer credit and personal financial management products. Prior to joining Mastercard, he served in various vice presidential capacities at Chase Manhattan, N.A. (1982 - 1990) and Chemical Bank (1974 – 1982). He is a member of the Association of Financial Professionals, Chairperson of the Commercial Payments International Advisory Board, a member of the Advisory Boards of Miri Systems and Armor Payments and CEO of The Abrams Group Ltd. Mr. Abrams holds a Master’s degree in business administration in marketing and a Bachelor of Science degree in economics and marketing from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. He also pursued a Doctor of Philosophy degree at Rensselaer.

Gint Balodis
VP, Global B2B & International Product Management, Global Commercial Payments
American Express

Gint balodis is vice president, global b2b & international product management, global commercial payments, a position he assumed in july 2016. His organization is responsible for managing our suite of b2b and international payment products to support buyer and supplier client needs globally. Prior to his current role, gint led the global business consulting organization at american express, which provides our customers with data driven insights, best practices, and expert resources in procurement, b2b payments, and travel & expense management to advance our clients’ strategic corporate objectives. Before joining global commercial payments, gint was vp us marketing & insights as part of the american express global merchant services business. He was responsible for designing needs based consulting solutions with leading brands, and developing marketing partnerships and platforms with top us cities and destination marketing organizations. Additionally, he was responsible for launching digital information products for small & medium sized merchants in the us. Gint began his career with american express in 1998 and has held various positions in client management, marketing, and strategic planning. Gint holds an mba from columbia university and a bs in marketing from the university of maryland. Originally from philadelphia, gint now lives in brooklyn, ny with his wife andrea and their 10 year-old twins, alexa and benjamin.

John Casanova
Sidley Austin LLP

John Casanova is a partner and resident in the firm’s Singapore office. Prior to that, he practiced in the firm’s London office from 1999 to 2012 and in the firm’s Washington D.C. office from 1996 to 1999. He is head of the firm’s EU Financial Services Regulatory Group. He advises clients on a wide variety of U.S., English and EU financial services regulatory and transactional matters. He also advises on data protection and privacy matters. John works regularly with banks, investment managers, broker/dealers, payment service providers, payment systems and other financial intermediaries in Asia, the UK, Europe and the U.S. He has assisted clients with setting up and operating regulated businesses and financial services joint ventures in Asia, the UK and the EU. He also works with clients in responding to regulatory investigations and examinations. He has handled commercial transactions for regulated entities and acquisitions and disposals of regulated businesses and asset portfolios. He is an editor of E-Finance and Payments Law and Policy. He has been a contributor to the Review of Banking and Financial Services and the Journal of International Banking Law. He is a contributing editor to Butterworths Financial Regulation Service for Payment Systems and Electronic Money. John is a member of the District of Columbia and Maryland bars and an English-qualified solicitor.

Patrick W. Diemer
Managing Director & Chairman
AirPlus International

Patrick W. Diemer serves as Managing Director and Chairman of AirPlus International, one of the leading global corporate card issuers. AirPlus is a highly specialized business travel payment company with 1.200 employees. It provides services to over 40.000 corporations in more than 60 countries. Patrick has lead AirPlus for more than 10 years now. He oversees all commercial aspects of the business. Previously, Patrick was General Manager of Visa International, where he directed the company’s operations in Germany. Prior to this he worked at Commerzbank as Head of Retail Marketing for private and retail banking customers, eventually becoming Senior Vice President. As a Non-Executive Director he serves on the Board of Directors of UATP. Patrick holds a Master of Economics degree from the University of Hamburg.

Kyle Ferguson

Kyle is CEO of Fraedom and a member of the Hogg Robinson Group Executive Board. He’s a big believer in the evolution of 'touchless transactions' and driving technology innovation that saves customers time and money. He brings a wealth of financial, travel, and technology experience to the organisation with over 18 years of sales and marketing expertise. Before joining Fraedom Kyle spent 10 years with American Express in their Global Corporate payments business. Kyle has a Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering from Rensselaer University, Troy, NY. .

Greg Hammermaster
EVP, Global Strategy
CSI globalVCard

Greg Hammermaster is Executive Vice President, Global Strategy at CSI globalVCard. Greg is responsible for product management, corporate development and driving CSI’s business strategy. Greg is a B2B payments industry executive. Greg started his payments career as part of a core team that launched the first-ever Visa or Mastercard commercial card program. Greg joined Visa in 1995 evangelizing the commercial card industry, and in 2002 led SunTrust Banks commercial card line of business over a significant period of growth. In 2008, Greg was President of Sage’s payments division where he transformed the company to an integrated payments provider. Prior to joining CSI, Greg joined First Data as Senior Vice President, Global Financial Services, where he led First Data's commercial payments businesses.

Chris Holmes

Senior Vice President
KAE Consulting

Chris is a Senior Vice President at KAE, the strategic marketing consultancy. Chris joined KAE in 2007 and during this time, he has managed multiple high profile global projects across the payments space (focusing on various issuing and acquiring topics across both the commercial and consumer payments sectors), banking, FinTech, AltFi and telco industries. His specialist skills are geared to NPD, market sizing and opportunity assessments, benchmarking, and best practice identification. He also heads KAE's FinTech practice as well as KAE’s wider marketing and business development activity. Chris holds a BSc (Hons) Business Studies degree from the Cass Business School and is also a qualified professional marketer (DipM) and a member of the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM). Prior to joining KAE, Chris provided market research and consultancy support on Responsible Business Practice and international development opportunities for the UK Food and Drink industry.

Ralph A. Kaiser
President, CEO & Chairman of the Board

Ralph Kaiser is President, CEO & Chairman of UATP. Appointed in 2003, he has launched and led several important growth initiatives resulting in a doubling of network charge volume to US$ 14 billion. Among these achievements is UATP’s new DataStream suite of products which has lowered the barrier to entry for UATP’s Issuers and provided state-of-the-art data management tools to UATP corporate customers. UATP also launched an innovative Alternative Forms of Payment gateway for global airlines under Kaiser’s leadership. Previous to his appointment as CEO, Kaiser was UATP General Counsel. Before joining UATP, Kaiser worked at the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) and the Export-Import Bank of the U.S. (Ex-Im Bank) as an advisor to the senior management and the Board of Directors for both organizations. He holds an MBA from the Carey School of Business at Johns Hopkins University and a law degree (JD) from the Emory University School of Law.

Manish Kohli
Managing Director & Global Head of Citi Commercial Cards
Citi Transaction Services

Manish Kohli is the Global Business Head of Citi Commercial Cards for Citi Transaction Services based in New York. Manish is responsible for the growth of one of CTS’s leading businesses across geographies, product lines, client segments and flows. Under Manish’s leadership, Citi has embarked on a forward-thinking strategy to deploy a standardized core processing system across all regions to provide a truly “global” product. Citi now offers its unified platform in 100 countries around the globe. Manish is known for his unwavering commitment to innovation, standardization of the client experience, and a strong dedication to meeting client needs as they expand their Commercial Card programs globally. Manish is a big sponsor of expansion of Commercial Cards solutions further into the Payment spectrum, and of using Digital Channels to deliver the Commercial Cards business to Citi’s clients. In appreciation of his contributions to the Cards and Payments Industry, Manish was recognized as the “Most Influential Executive in Cards and Payments” by the Commercial Payments International Forum in 2013. Manish has more than 15 years of experience at Citi, creating and executing business strategies in diverse corporate and public sector markets. Prior to his current position, he was Managing Director, Business Manager for Citi’s Wholesale Cards business in EMEA, where he significantly expanded the business. Before this, Manish was Corporate / Public Sector Payments Market Manager for Europe, Middle East and Africa, responsible for growing the core Payments business. Dating back to 1997, he has held various positions at Citi, including Commercial Bank Group Cash Management Business Manager and Payment Business Development, and Head of Domestic Trade Finance, Network Management and New Product Development. His past extensive work experience in both Asia and Europe includes domestic and international cash management, trade services and finance, and wholesale cards. At Citi, he has successfully led numerous business initiatives, infrastructure developments and partnerships that have proven vital to the organization’s overall growth. Manish holds an MBA in Finance from the University of Delhi in Delhi, India.

Dean Leavitt
Chairman & CEO
Boost Payment Solutions

Dean Leavitt is the founder and CEO of Boost Payment Solutions, the only acquirer in the United States focused exclusively on the business-to-business electronic payments. Dean is a well-respected veteran of the electronic payments industry with nearly 25 years of experience in various leadership roles at both public and private companies. Dean has received numerous awards from his industry peers and is often asked to speak at industry events. Dean currently serves on the advisory board of Commercial Payments International, having previously served two terms on the board of directors of the Electronic Transaction Association. Dean holds a B.A. with high honors from Emory University, where he served on the college’s Alumni Board of Trustees from 2002-2008.

Frank Martien
Partner & Head of Commercial Payments Practice
First Annapolis Consulting

Frank Martien joined First Annapolis in 1996 and leads the firm’s commercial payments practice area where he focuses on corporate cards, purchasing cards (including virtual card solutions), one cards, small business cards, private label commercial accounts and fleet cards. His engagement experience includes a wide spectrum of strategy, primary and secondary market research, financial analysis, RFP/vendor selection and M&A-related client assignments. Frank’s clients include banks, payment networks, retailers and multinational “end-user” organizations. Through client assignments, speeches at major industry events and client conferences, articles and quotes in payments-related publications, and as an advisory board member of Commercial Payments International, Frank is a recognized industry expert. Frank’s financial services work experience includes positions at 5Star Bank, Capital One, Citibank and Alex. Brown & Sons incorporated. Through these positions, Frank gained company experience in card payments and the equity capital markets. Frank received his MBA from the Darden School at the University of Virginia. He received his undergraduate degree from Washington & Lee University.

Mary Mazzochi
SVP, Commercial Card Group Product Manager
Wells Fargo

Mary Mazzochi, Senior Vice President, is the Commercial Card Group Product Manager for Wells Fargo and is responsible for the management of the card programs and technology used to support Wells Fargo’s middle market, large corporate and public sector Commercial Card customers. She has been with Wells Fargo for the past 12 years and has worked in the commercial card and e-commerce fields for the past 20 years. Prior to joining Wells Fargo, she served as a director of e-Business at a major airline, responsible for implementing and managing e-procurement, e-marketplace and e-auction initiatives. Mary earned her M.B.A. from Arizona State University, an M.I.M. from The American Graduate School of International Management (Thunderbird) and a B.A. in Political Science and Business Administration from UCLA. She is based out of Phoenix, AZ.

Sachin Mehra
Group Executive, Global Commercial Products

Sachin Mehra is group executive, Global Commercial Products at Mastercard. In this role, he leads the global development and commercialization of Mastercard commercial products and solutions that serve small business, mid- and large market organizations and public sector institutions. Mr. Mehra joined Mastercard in June 2010 as group executive and corporate treasurer, with responsibility for treasury strategy and operations, global settlement, customer credit risk management and enterprise risk management. Most recently, Mr. Mehra served as group executive and business financial officer, North America. In that role, he had responsibility for all aspects of financial management, including financial planning and analysis, business and strategic planning, internal accounting and reporting, customer deals and business administration functions. Prior to joining Mastercard, Mr. Mehra was vice president and treasurer of Hess Corporation, a global integrated energy company. Before joining Hess, he worked for General Motors Corporation and GMAC between November 1996 and March 2007 in treasury/finance positions of increasing responsibility in New York, Singapore, Belgium and Shanghai. Mr. Mehra has a Master of Business Administration from the Darden Business School (University of Virginia), and received his undergraduate degree in commerce from Sydenham College (University of Bombay, India).

Jim Pratt
Senior Vice President, General Manager of Virtual Payments

With more than 30 years of experience in information technology and the payments industry, Jim Pratt is responsible for building global market share in the WEX virtual payments line of business. Under Jim’s leadership, WEX has expanded its travel payments worldwide, and broadened our virtual payments offerings into multiple sectors. As senior vice president, general manager of virtual payments, Jim has full oversight of virtual payment product development globally and virtual go-to-market in North America. He joined WEX in 1998 and has held multiple leadership roles of increasing responsibility within our virtual payments. During his tenure at WEX, Jim built the virtual payments product capability from its start in North America to now supporting customers from offices on five continents. He oversees the virtual globalization effort which includes establishing our virtual brand around the globe. Prior to joining WEX, Jim spent 10 years with Digital Equipment Corporation in various sales and management positions and spent several years consulting in the technology sector. Jim holds a bachelor’s degree from Bates College.

Steven M. Putney
EVP & Director - US Commercial Card Services
BBVA Compass

Steve is responsible for all aspects of the Commercial Card Services business in the US. Before joining BBVA Compass, Steve spent over 25 years in leadership positions in the payments industry. His prior experience includes President/CEO of Paymetric, a venture backed SAP software development company; Senior Vice President for the Commercial Card Services division of Bank One, NA. Under his direction, the Bank One business grew from $4 billion to $9 billion in less than three (3) years. Steve also held the position of Executive Vice President of PaySys International Inc., the global leader in software applications for credit card issuing banks, which was acquired by First Data Corporation in 2001.  Prior to PaySys, Steve spent ten (10) years at US Bank; most recently as President of the Corporate Payment Systems division, where he managed the world’s largest Visa commercial and government card businesses. Steve also held the position of Executive Vice President of Electronic Commerce at EDS. Steve began his career in the payment industry as Assistant Vice President at Citibank. Steve is frequently featured as a speaker on the payment systems industry. He has also served on numerous Advisory Boards for Visa USA, Mastercard Worldwide and AirPlus International.

Nicole Tackett
SVP, Head of Emerging Markets & Strategy
US Bank Corporate Payment Systems

As the Head of Emerging Markets and Strategy, Nicole conducts the strategic assessment of markets, products, and initiatives through acquisitions, partnerships, and existing assets in order to meet the business’ profit and growth goals. In addition, Nicole leads the Virtual Pay business unit as well as leads a team focused on Customer Advocacy. Prior to joining U.S. Bank, Nicole managed Global Product and Marketing at WEX Inc. leading the globalization of its commercial card product, building international brand awareness, creating lead generation strategies to sustain growth, and developing retention strategies for existing customers. Nicole also worked at First Annapolis Consulting assisting with the management of client engagements which include strategy development for major card associations, merchant services providers, and banks; support on payments-oriented M&A transactions; and analysis on payments trends for industry-leading companies in Europe, India, Mexico, Canada, and the U.S. Nicole earned a BBA from the University of Georgia, magna cum laude, and a MBA from the University of Maryland.

Tim Ural
Vice President, Head of US Product, Global Business Solutions

Tim Ural leads the US Commercial Product team and is responsible for the product strategy that helps to support the foundations for US commercial market growth. Tim focuses on the ability to both create and deliver unique commercial products and services for the middle market, large corporate, and multinational segments that span B2B solutions to emerging Virtual Payment products in a variety of verticals. Tim joined Visa in 2004, serving as a program manager for the small and mid-market market segment across information management products and services. In 2006, he moved into the Visa Commercial Products team, and over the past nine years, has worked in a product development, program management and sales/consulting capacity. Prior to joining Visa, Tim held positions in product and program management, launching business ventures in the e-commerce and supply chain management space for Morgan Stanley, Oracle, IBM, and Tim holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Mathematics and Computer Science from Eckerd College and has completed graduate studies at University of Florida and University of California.


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