Middle East & Africa
The newest of the advisory boards, the CPI Middle East & Africa board was founded in 2018 to bring together senior figures from the commercial payments industry and discuss the payments topics that are most relevant to the industry in the Middle East & Africa regions.
Founder & CEO, Paymate
Ajay is a technology entrepreneur with strong experience in building and leading successful technology companies. In 2006, he founded PayMate India Pvt. Ltd. with an aim to introduce mobile payments in the country. Over the years, he transformed PayMate into a leading B2B digital payments provider in India. Prior to PayMate, Ajay founded and grew Coruscant Tec, an early leader in mobile content, that offered VAS services to leading Indian Telecom companies for a number of years. The company was sold to Mukta Arts a listed media firm in 2008
Amer Qavi is Founder & CEO of Swipezoom, a fintech company that develops and markets SaaS-based solutions for the B2C and B2B sectors. Amer’s experience as a problem solving entrepreneur spans 27 years across several industries such as healthcare, hospitality, telecommunications and IT and include notable exits from businesses he founded along the way. Prior to that, he has held numerous positions within the healthcare industry. As a certified clinical specialist, he has trained Ophthalmic, ENT and Neuro surgeons on the use of minimally invasive surgery and laser based procedures; has been involved in setting up master distribution networks for ICU Medical, 3M, Alcon and Johnson & Johnson and helped architect numerous government-backed healthcare initiatives, most notably in the area of laser surgery and infection control. He is a regular speaker at entrepreneurship, e-commerce and technology industry events; is an e-exporting advisor to the UK Department for International Trade (DIT), has held steering positions in entrepreneurship organizations, such as the EO and MBRE, and is a mentor to several technology startups. Amer studied Bioengineering at Texas A&M University.
Corporate & Commercial Cards Payment Solutions Senior Manager, Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank
Arda is leading Commercial Credit and Debit Card Payments Solutions (Business, T&E and P-Cards) and UAEPGS at ADCB. With over 15 years of experience in the card payment systems and financial industry, he has also held key roles in product management & development, partnership management, strategy and marketing. Prior to joining ADCB he was based in Istanbul where covered an affluent Miles Program at Akbank, implemented a B2B commercial card product at Finansbank and launched and leaded the sales of Amex Corporate Card in Garanti Bank. He holds a BA in Political Science and MSc in European Ecomonics. He is married with a 5-year-old daughter.
Director, Corporate Cards Solutions & Retail Cards Acquisitions, Majid Al Futtaim Finance
Feroz is currently heading Corporate Cards Business & Retail Cards Acquisitions for Majid Al Futtaim Finance in the United Arab Emirates and successfully leading the Digital Transformation of customer on-boarding process. He oversees the Corporate Cards Business covering T&E, Purchase Card & Central Travel Account solutions along with responsibility for new customer acquisition for retail cards. He has spent over 18 years in payment business and has held senior leadership roles covering product, portfolio, partnerships and sales management areas. Before joining Majid Al Futtaim, he worked with several prestigious global and regional financial institutions including Citibank, Barclays, Mashreq & Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank.
Gouranga (GD) Dhanagare
VP, Commercial Cards Head, MENAPT, Citi
GD is the VP and Commercial Cards Head in MENAPT cluster, based in Dubai, UAE. His professional experience spans 25+ years, encompassing key roles in Global Program Leadership, Strategic Client Partnerships, Business Development, E-commerce Product Development and Project Management – within the Financial Services (Commercial Payments & Cards), Business Travel and Airline sectors. He joined Citi in 2016 – after having relocated to Dubai in 2013 as the Commercial Payments Solutions (CPS) business leader for MasterCard Middle East & Africa – responsible for Strategy, Product Management, Issuer Enablement and B2B / SME Partnerships. Prior to his Middle East move, GD had an extensive tenure with American Express, based in Sydney, Australia – covering regional and global Client Relationships, E-commerce Product Management and Business Transformation projects – in the Asia-Pacific region. GD holds a Computer Science degree, with progressive Management Studies and Project Management qualifications.
Head of Commercial Cards, MENAT, HSBC
Chief Commercial Officer, Vice President Global Commercial Card , American Express Saudi Arabia
Mark Turner is Chief Commercial Officer and Vice President of the Commercial Card Group at American Express Saudi Arabia. In this role Mark is responsible for the Commercial Card business. He is also responsible for bank partnerships and the associated product development. He champions corporate payment innovation and advises senior executives on their digital/enterprise payments across all industries, in many cases designing new and complex solutions from a suite of Islamic based products. Mark leads the digital corporate product development to ensure the company provides relevant next generation solutions for his clients. Prior to this Mark was the Chief Strategy Officer for Saudi Arabia leading the Strategic Partnership Group in Saudi Arabia. Mark spent 8 years in Singapore as Vice President Asia Pacific leading various regional businesses. During Mark’s tenure in Asia, he was responsible for significantly expanding American Express’ footprint across the JAPA region, re-designing and successfully growing various business lines, in addition, he was also responsible for leading the Joint Venture & Acquisitions group. This included successfully leading and concluding market entry with the first equity based joint venture for The American Express Company (AXP) to the People’s Republic of China. Mark joined American Express in 1990, and has held various senior executive roles across 4 Continents managing and growing both card issuing and acquiring businesses around the globe. Mark was educated in the UK and holds an MBA in Business Studies from Hull University UK and holds an Honorary Professorship by Guangzhou University, PR China. Mark is married, enjoys travelling and the occasional round of golf.
Group Head, PayTech Group
Nicki has enjoyed more than 35 years in the cards and payments industry internationally. Most recently as Group Head for PayTech – a specialist advisory services company supporting payment schemes, banks, processors and corporate clients on leveraging the opportunities provided in this highly specialized space worldwide. PayTech has under his leadership delivered more than 700 projects in 32 countries in the past 10 years alone and provided consulting services to 65% of the world’s 20 largest banks and a long list of smaller ones. Today, PayTech is recognized as a leader in their field of specialist payments expertise. Prior to founding PayTech, Nicki had a distinguished career from leadership positions as CEO at EnterCard, Head of Corporate Products at Visa Europe, Senior Vice President and head of products at DNB and Marketing Director at Sparebankort in Norway.
He was instrumental setting up the new and very successful FinTech company EedenBull in 2018 in response to customer demand from banks looking for practical support for new and innovative payment solutions in a time where new technologies, new regulations and new players are changing the way consumers and businesses think about payments. He was consequently appointed Chief Executive Officer at EedenBull in May 2018.
VP, Head of Business Solutions for CEMEA, Visa
Rakesh Khanna is the Vice President, Business solutions head for CEMEA at Visa Inc. focused on commercializing and executing key solutions for Small, middle & large market and the public sector. He is responsible for the strategy and delivery of Visa’s business solutions for the region. He joined Visa in 2014 as head for CEMEA and also managed the European region for Large Market from Oct 2016-May 2018.
Rakesh has 20 years of experience across financial services and banking. He joined Visa in Nov 2014 from Standard Chartered Bank where he spent 10 years in London and Singapore heading strategic products and solutions for the bank globally that included lending and Asset backed finance. His last position was the Global Head product for Receivables Services & Invoice financing. Prior to this, he was with GE in a variety of roles in India, US & London spanning sales, relationship management, change and transformation roles including Six Sigma and Lean initiatives.
Head Commercial Card Product, AVP, Emirates NBD
A Banking Professional specializing in payments with over 18 years of experience in this field spanning across two countries and seven organizations. By virtue of working in all the major functions, have acquired in-depth learning on the lifecycle of a payment card. Currently working as Head of Commercial Cards in Emirates NBD, Dubai. All-inclusive role involving Product Management, Business Development and Relationship Management. Involved in formulating strategies, leading initiatives, identifying next big opportunity and enhancing product proposition through tie ups or technology. Skills Acquired – Acquisition, Distribution Channels, Business Development, Account Management and Product Management.
VP, Commercial Product Lead, Mastercard
Virginia Reinecke is a seasoned Commercial payments expert having worked in the industry since 2003. As the MEA Commercial lead, she is responsible for defining and executing the overall Product strategy for Commercial and critical segments such as SME, T&E, and B2B. The responsibilities include the go-to-market approach, pricing, distribution, and portfolio optimization. Commercial Products Solutions presents a significant opportunity for MEA region. The program has experienced substantial growth in the last few years, being one of the leading segments for Mastercard.
Since joining Mastercard in 2013 Virginia (“Jimi”) has served as the Commercial lead for South Africa and more recently Southern Africa. During this time Virginia was instrumental in defining and executing the Commercial strategy for SA that is differentiating us in the market and helping us gain market share in the division. Prior to joining Mastercard, Virginia spent most of her working life with the Citi EMEA Commercial card business serving in roles across Implementation, Product and Sales with key achievements being launching their local card operations in South Africa, Nigeria and Kenya. Virginia started her career at Westpac Bank in Australia. She is married with two children, and enjoys playing team sports.