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#TrustBuddy: Quo vadis?

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Only a few days after he took office, TrustBuddy’s new CEO Philip Mikal is taking out the broom and announces today a restructuring of the management team. His former colleagues from Klarna, Kevin Albrecht, Chad Mazzola, and John Ward are joining the management team effective September 7, 2015.

I worked closely with Kevin, Chad, and John during my time at Klarna, and there is no other team I’d rather bring to TrustBuddy,” said Philip Mikal, TrustBuddy CEO. “Our prior experience with each other, and with this market, means we can immediately accelerate the pace of our innovation and execution.”

Kevin Albrecht, Chief Technology Officer (CTO): 

Kevin was recently at Klarna where he, as part of Product Management, led their communications infrastructure and implementation of new service-oriented banking systems to service the loans and payments of their customers in key new markets. At TrustBuddy, Kevin will ensure that the Company’s technology strategy serves its business objectives and its members.

Chad Mazzola, Chief Product Officer (CPO)

Chad was formerly Director of Product Design at Klarna where he established the product design division, responsible for the design and user experience of their consumer facing products, including Klarna Checkout. He led this team during their rapid expansion into international markets. At TrustBuddy, Chad will define the product strategy for the Company’s lending and borrowing platform.

John Ward, Chief Operating Officer (COO)

John was previously at Klarna, with Product Management responsibility for a new core banking platform that allowed them to offer credit products to new markets. Prior to Klarna, John was an executive in private equity and an underwriter at a listed Real Estate Investment Trust. At TrustBuddy, John will focus on the execution of strategies developed by the management team, including operations and the optimization of credit risk strategies.

In addition to these new members, Linus Lönnroth will continue in his role as Chief Financial Officer (CFO) and Bård Bjerkås will continue in his role as Chief Legal Officer (CLO). Glenn Sundhagen, currently Investment Director, will serve as Interim Chief Investment Officer (CIO), reporting to John Ward.

Former CTO, Marius Gabrielsen has decided to leave the Company effective 30 November 2015 to pursue new challenges. Sebastian Hagman has also stepped down as CIO and left the Company effective 4 September 2015. “Marius and Sebastian have been extremely valuable members of the TrustBuddy team,” said Philip Mikal. “We thank them for their dedicated service and wish them the best.

With the changes announced today, I am confident we have an outstanding management team in place, one that is capable of guiding TrustBuddy toward long-term success,” said TrustBuddy’s Chairman Mr Nathanson.

The management changes come only a few days ahead of the extraordinary shareholder meeting on September 18th, where the topic is not only the new issue of shares with preferential rights for existing shareholders, but also the implementation of an incentive programme for selected senior executives and, quite shockingly we think, the resolution on the implementation of an incentive programme for board members. Furthermore, TrustBuddy is asking its shareholders for a resolution on authorisation for the issue of shares and or warrants without shareholders’ preferential rights of more than 200,000,000 shares.

To have the audacity to propose incentive programmes for the Board and management is quite notable we believe. As a reminder, TrustBuddy’s share price is down more than 80% this year. Here’s an idea for the Board: How about paying back your Board renumeration?!

We also think that the timing of a directed share issue to institutions (on top of the share issue with preferential rights for existing shareholders) is not in the best interest of shareholders. We note that none of the Board members has any significant shareholdings at all, which makes such a proposition rather easy for them.

Mr Mikal and his newly appointed team have a bumpy right ahead of them.

Nordic Investor

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