Park Group Appointment of CEO

Further to the announcement within its results statement of 13 June 2017 of Chris Houghton’s intention to retire, Park, the UK’s leading multi-retailer, multi-channel gift voucher and prepaid gift card provider, is pleased to announce the appointment of Mr. John Sullivan (Ian) O’Doherty to succeed Mr. Houghton as Chief Executive Officer of Park.

Mr. O’Doherty, aged 55, will join the Company on 2 January 2018, as CEO designate and will be appointed as CEO and to the Board following approval from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), which is expected will be within the first quarter of 2018.

Current CEO, Chris Houghton will leave the Company following the announcement of the Company’s full year results to 31 March 2018, in June 2018, ensuring an orderly handover and smooth transition.

Mr. O’Doherty has a strong background in financial services, specifically in banking, payments and card services, having worked at MBNA Ltd for 26 years, most recently as Chairman and CEO of MBNA Ltd in the UK, a position he held from 2008 to 2017. In this role, he was responsible for the re-engineering of MBNA’s digital capabilities and reorganised the business, leading it effectively through the 2008 financial crisis to its ultimate sale to Lloyds Banking Group for £1.9 billion in June 2017. During his leadership, MBNA was recognised amongst the ‘Top 20 Great Places to Work in the UK’ in 2016 and 2017, and named ‘Consumer Moneyfacts Credit Card Provider of the Year’ for four consecutive years to 2017.

From 2015 to 2017, Mr. O’Doherty was Deputy Chair of the UK Cards Association, having been a Board member since 2008, and he was a member of the Interim Main Board of UK Finance (New Trade Association) from 2016 to 2017.

He has an MBA from Carroll Graduate School of Management, Boston College, USA, and is a fellow of the Institute of Bankers in Ireland. He is a Non-Executive Director of Chester Race Company Ltd and is a Governor on the Board of the King’s School, Chester.

Laura Carstensen, Chairman of Park, said: “We are extremely pleased to welcome someone of Ian’s experience and talent as CEO of Park and are excited to be working with him. There will be a comprehensive handover period which will ensure a smooth transition for the business.  We are confident that we have found the right person to lead the business in its next era of development and maintain its momentum of consistent growth.

We would also like to thank Chris Houghton for his outstanding contribution to Park over many years. Chris has overseen the development of our own pre-paid platform flexecash®, our corporate rewards and recognition business and our MasterCard capabilities whilst also expanding our Christmas Savings business. We wish him every success for the future.”

Mr. Ian O’Doherty, Park’s incoming CEO, said: “Thanks to the efforts of Park’s management team and all its dedicated staff, I am joining a Company in excellent health, with a rich history and strong prospects for further growth and success.  I look forward to working with the team to continue Park’s proud tradition in customer service and innovation.”

Additional information

Current directorships Previous directorships
Chester Race Company Limited MBNA Limited
  FIA Jersey Holdings Limited
  FIA UK Funding Limited
  Marlin House Holdings Limited
  NewTA Limited
  The UK Cards Association Limited
  MBNA Ireland Limited


Save as disclosed above, there are no further details to be disclosed pursuant to Schedule Two (g) of the AIM Rules for Companies.  At the date of this announcement, Mr. O’Doherty does not hold any ordinary shares in the Company.