Ashley began his career with Chase Manhattan Bank, where he rose rapidly through the ranks of technology and online banking. He then joined MasterCard, where he ultimately ran the whole of Africa.
After 30 years in the corporate world and recognising the opportunities within eCommerce, he started his own company called Proc Cyber, a processing business focused on the online gaming industry. He grew this business from scratch to a company valued at over £60 million in just 3 years. Recognising the broader applicability of the underlying antifraud solutions, he merged with Datacash in 2006, where he assumed the role of Chairman and took 50% ownership of the company.
Under his leadership, Datcash grew to a market leading position amidst a virtual plethora of competitors. In 2010 Datacash captured headlines, when MasterCard purchased the company at a 53% premium for £333 million.
At the time of the acquisition, he was quoted, saying, “The deal was a very special dream”… adding “it’s been interesting meeting some of the MasterCard guys again and comparing how much hair we haven’t got.”
Ashley Head continues to lead a vibrant portfolio career and continues to give back. He now serves as Chairman of Ukash and also acts as an investor – and more importantly – a mentor to several growth businesses and entrepreneurs.
Chief Executive OfficerView Profile
Chief Executive Officer
After leaving university with a PhD in Chemistry, I was lucky enough to join a large multi-national oil company (Texaco Inc.) who provided a framework in which I was allowed to develop my skills and capabilities in an array of new and exciting roles. In order for me to successfully execute these P&L jobs, I was provided with first class business training and development, for which I am still very grateful.
As well, as the outstanding business training, my background as a research Chemist always afforded me the opportunity to pursue innovative solutions. However, these new innovations have always been practical and provided immediate returns in the pursuit of operational excellence. In a nutshell, I am passionate about streamlining processes in a way to drive greater efficiency. A good example of this is was when I was Retail Director of Texaco In Europe and turned the business around by $100m.
Having spent over 12 years in the oil sector, I moved into payments in 2000. I believe that oil companies really changed the face of the credit card industry, as they took cards many years before the high street retailers. Despite this linkage, moving into the payment sector was a big leap which has been very exciting. No more so than the 5 years I spent at Retail Decisions as Managing Director and then as Vice President for CGI Inc, working on some very large payment outsourcing opportunities.
However in 2013 I was lucky enough to start working with Ashley Head, who is highly recognised in the payment sector, on rejuvenating The ai Corporation (ai). I am really fortunate to work with an outstanding high performing team, who are driven to re-engineer the current fraud and payment processes. Lots to do – very exciting times.
Chief Financial OfficerView Profile
Chief Financial Officer
As a qualified accountant with a degree in Maths and Statistics from St. Andrews University, I have spent over 20 years in a variety of senior finance roles across several industries.
My role as Group Financial Controller at Telegraph Newspaper Group first introduced me to the power of emerging technologies, with the launch of online newspapers revolutionising the way in which readers consumed information. I gained insight into the importance of reviewing and adapting business strategies in a changing world to optimise financial performance and create opportunities for growth.
Prior to joining The ai Corporation, I worked as a Business Manager for schools in the highly competitive, independent education sector further broadening my financial management and business development experience. A varied role encompassing all non-teaching operations of a school from finance and procurement to compliance and Health & Safety, I further refined my skills in prioritising and multi-tasking in a dynamic organisation.
My responsibilities at The ai Corporation include ensuring the continued financial stability of the organisation whilst underpinning our strategic direction during a period of significant annual growth. Central to this role is the requirement to ensure strong corporate governance including ensuring that the group policies and procedures support the ever-changing needs of this innovative business.
Chief Commercial OfficerView Profile
Chief Commercial Officer
I found my way into the exciting world of payments and risk whilst completing my studies in finance. I began my career with Digital Outsource Services as a Fraud Risk Analyst working 24/7 shifts, investigating and making decisions on transactions for some of the largest online gaming Clients in the world. I then went on to Head up the eCommerce and Risk Team responsible for the end-to-end online payment solutions and strategy for existing markets as well as entry into new global markets, I was also responsible for driving the ecommerce fraud and risk strategy and operations.
In 2008 I moved to Datacash, now owned by MasterCard, to run the Fraud Operations, providing fully managed fraud prevention technology and services to all the major high street brands and their online business. This included managing teams providing 24/7 Risk Alert management, rules optimisation and strategy, implementation and specialist fraud account and relationship management. After the MasterCard acquisition of Datacash I spearheaded the white labelling of the Datacash solutions so that Acquiring banks could offer their merchants value added end-to-end services as their own. After this I went on to head up Fraud Product and Risk and was responsible for defining the global fraud and risk services strategy and product pipeline. In this role I focused on managing 5 key areas including; product development, product management, commercial expansion, general fraud & risk operations and specialised risk services.
Outside of work, I actively support several philanthropic organisations including Chiva Africa, a charitable organisation that provides support for young children with HIV and Aids, and The Children’s Trust UK’s leading charity for children with brain injury; giving children with brain injury the opportunity to live the best life possible.
Chief Operational OfficerView Profile
Chief Operational Officer
My ‘working life’ began in the Royal Navy where I served on HMS Leander and HMS Ark Royal, working on communication and weapon systems. This gave me a solid grounding in my work ethics that are still with me today; working smart, hard and giving the absolute best I can, while always striving to do better. After the Navy I studied Electronic Engineering, while working for an EPOS developer and manufacturer, I was ‘hands-on’ developing some of the early EFT and POS machines that were deployed to retail fuel stations around the world.
I started out as a ‘techie’, then had a great opportunity to grow and boarded my skills within a business that I helped set up. Establishing and managing various departments from development, project management, customer services, manufacturing, sales and business development; I finally joined the senior management team, taking the business to a full listing on the London Stock Exchange. That experience put me in good stead for my next career step, joining Retail Decisions (ReD), where I was very much involved in developing the business from a UK only, one product business, into a leading global fraud detection, fuel card and payment solution provider. My time at ReD included running various types of operations, covering fraud prevention, payments and fuel cards around the world, including South Africa (my home for many years), China, USA, Australia and LATAM where I worked with some very capable people, some of whom I now work with at ai.
At ai, as COO, I am responsible for all operational departments in the company including fraud & analytics, support and change management by building a best in class operations team.
Regional Director - UK and EuropeView Profile
Regional Director - UK and Europe
I started my career in Customer Services, predominantly in the telco space, running B2B and B2C call centres for O2. This gave me a strong service ethic and an appreciation of the importance of communication with Clients, both written and spoken. In combination with my passion for languages, I have continued to place huge importance on building long-lasting business relationships and how we work together both locally and internationally.
After O2, I managed the European service operation for Psion computers before moving into the dynamic and ever-changing fraud and payments industry in 2002, where I have remained until now. I joined Retail Decisions (ReD), now owned by ACI, in January of that year and held a number of roles including Head of Client Services, Head of Marketing and latterly taking responsibility for the Channel Sales team, working with payment processors, banks, third parties and direct Enterprise Clients.
After 10 years at ReD, I was offered the opportunity to gain some direct banking experience when I joined Elavon, a European acquirer and part of US Bank. There, I ran the 3rd Party Sales channel working with some of the largest Independent Sales Organisations in the UK and abroad.
I joined ai in 2013 in the role of Commercial Director. Here I am responsible for most of ai’s European business and with direct responsibility for several strategic Clients. It is a privilege to work as part of a highly motivated and capable team.
I live in Surrey with my wife and two children, who help me to occupy what I used to call my ‘spare time’.