Melanie Johnson appointed as chair of new payment system operator

Melanie Johnson has been appointed as the Independent Non-executive Chair of the company that will become the new single, integrated retail payment system operator for the UK, processing over £6.4 trillion pounds of payments every year.

NPSO Limited is the holding name for the company that has been set up to consolidate Bacs Payment Schemes Limited (Bacs), Faster Payments Scheme Limited (FPSL), and the Image Clearing System (ICS) which will replace the paper processing system for cheques currently managed by the Cheque & Credit Clearing Company (C&CCC).

Melanie Johnson has had a long and distinguished career with extensive experience at a senior level in both public and private sectors, including as City Minister in the Treasury, taking forward financial services regulation, and later, as Competition and Consumers Minister, holding responsibility for legislation to enhance competition and protect consumers interests and rights to redress.

Melanie has worked in the private sector since 2005 and has been chairing the industry association representing the issuers and merchant acquirers of debit and credit cards for the last eight years. She has led the industry’s focus on openness and better information for customers so that customers can be in the driving seat, and she has championed the wider use of contactless cards for travel payments. Recently she provided Board leadership throughout the merger of six industry associations to form UK Finance.

Melanie Johnson will take up her position on 1st September 2017, with the appointment made for a three year term.

Melanie Johnson, Independent Non-executive Chair of the new payment system operator, said: “I’m delighted to take up this role as the Independent Chair of this vitally important new organisation in payments. The new company I will oversee will aim to deliver easier access to payment systems for existing and new payment providers, promoting greater competition. This will deliver improvements for all types of end users including consumers, businesses and payment service providers, whilst enhancing the systemic robustness and resilience which are essential for financial stability.

“My initial focus will be to lead the process to hire a CEO, establish a Board and build on the excellent work of the Payment System Operator Delivery Group. We will be engaging with our stakeholders through two councils – one reflecting the interests of end-users and a second for businesses participating in the payments industry.

“There is much to be done and I’m really looking forward to working with the leadership and staff of Bacs, Faster Payments and the Image Clearing System to build a new integrated business that can lead the delivery of the Payment Strategy Forum’s blueprint for an innovative New Payments Architecture, for the benefit of the UK’s economy.”

Robert Stansbury, the chair of the Payment System Operator Delivery Group led the selection process, which was run on an open basis by independent executive recruitment consultants.

Robert Stansbury said: “I am delighted to welcome Melanie Johnson as Chair. This is a vital milestone to have reached in the process of delivering the new payment system operator.

“Melanie will be an inspired, enthused and energised Chair, playing a key role in leading the payments industry through this fundamental transition, balancing the needs of diverse and complex stakeholder groups in the payments ecosystem and delivering benefits for all parts of society.”

The appointment of the new Chair follows the successful creation of the corporate entity for the new payment system operator. NPSO Limited was incorporated on 18 July 2017 as a company limited by guarantee. Melanie Johnson will now lead the final stages of the recruitment process for the company’s CEO.

For further information please contact Neil Aitken in the new payment system operator press office on 020 3217 8441, or email press@newpso.uk. A photo of Melanie Johnson is available on request.

 

Responsibility for leading the recruitment process for the new chair was conferred on the Payment System Operator Delivery Group by the Bank of England and Payment Systems Regulator as part of the updated terms of reference setting out the process for managing the transition to the NPSO.

The Payment System Operator Delivery Group report, which sets out the recommended delivery plan for the consolidation was published on 4 May 2017: https://www.psr.org.uk/psr-focus/payment-system-operator-delivery-group. The consolidation was approved by the CMA on 19 July: https://www.gov.uk/cma-cases/bacs-payment-schemes-faster-payments-scheme-cheque-credit-clearing-company-merger-inquiry

Melanie was the Labour MP for Welwyn Hatfield from 1997 until 2005 and served in several ministerial posts as Economic Secretary at HM Treasury; at the former Department of Trade and Industry (now the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills) as Minister for Competition, Consumers and Markets; and latterly at the Department of Health as Minister for Public Health.

In her time at the DTI, Melanie undertook the first review of consumer credit legislation for more than 30 years and protected consumers against abuse of their rights through the introduction of stop-now orders.

Following her time in parliament, Melanie was Joint Chair of the Association of British Insurers’ (ABI) consumer impact panel, which aimed to improve customers’ experience of the insurance industry. She was appointed as the first non-industry Chair of The UK Cards Association in September 2009, leading the trade body for eight years, subsequently sitting on the Interim Management Board for the setting up of the new integrated trade association, UK Finance.

Melanie attended Clifton High School in Bristol, before gaining a BA Hons in Philosophy and Ancient Greek from University College London in 1976. She went on to postgraduate research in Philosophy at King’s College, Cambridge. Her early career included roles for the Cambridge Co-op, Cambridge Family Health Service Authority and as a schools inspector for Ofsted, in addition to serving as a Cambridgeshire County Councillor for 16 years.

She lives in Cambridge and is married, with three children in their thirties.

NPSO Limited is the holding name for the company that has been set up to consolidate Bacs Payment Schemes Limited (Bacs), Faster Payments Scheme Limited (FPSL), and the Image Clearing System (ICS) which will replace the paper processing system for cheques currently managed by the Cheque & Credit Clearing Company (CCCC). Bringing all of these retail payment services together will reduce complexity and provide a platform for innovation. With a combined £6.4 trillion of payments processed each year, the company will support a vibrant UK economy by enabling a globally competitive payments industry in the UK.

The consolidation is an important part of the strategy for payments in the UK and will allow greater independence, a more dynamic, competitive and innovative business environment and benefit all users of payments including consumers, businesses, the third sector, government, and payment service providers.

The proposal for the new payment system operator was created by the Payment System Operator Delivery Group, an independently chaired body set up by the Payment Systems Regulator (PSR) and the Bank of England. It was incorporated on 18 July 2017 as a company limited by guarantee. The new payment system operator’s Independent Chair, Melanie Johnson, was appointed on 7 August 2017 and is currently leading the final stages of the process to recruit a CEO, as well as members of the Board. www.newpso.uk

The Payment System Operator Delivery Group (PSODG) is an independently chaired body established by the Payment Systems Regulator (PSR) and Bank of England (the Bank) in October 2016. The updated terms of reference for the PSO DG are published here: https://www.psr.org.uk/sites/default/files/media/PDF/PSODG-Revised-Terms-of-Reference.pdf