James Hewitt Named CEO, Travelex North America, and Nick Cerise Becomes Global Head of Products and Payments
Financial/Payment Industry Veterans Charged with Expanding and Enhancing Company’s Services
Travelex, a leading foreign exchange and international money transfer company, has appointed two accomplished payment industry executives to senior leadership positions.
James Hewitt has been named CEO of Travelex North America and Nick Cerise has been appointed to the new position of Global Head of Products and Payments. Both executives are responsible for expanding the company’s core currency services and leading the introduction of new services in the burgeoning payments market.
The announcement was made at Money 20/20, a major payments and financial services trade show in Las Vegas. Travelex is exhibiting in booth #1741.
Hewitt, based in New York, is an accomplished leader in financial services and payment innovation and has extensive experience in developing and managing pioneering payment platforms for traditional and emerging commerce. In his new role, he will be driving Travelex North America’s growth strategy and operations, as well as overseeing the company’s digital payments, retail, ATM, international money transfer, B2B outsourcing and wholesale businesses.
Cerise, based in Denver, is a seasoned fintech and marketing strategist and digital product innovator. At Travelex, he will oversee the refinement and development of new global service offerings designed to serve the needs of consumers, banks, corporations and other financial institutions
“We are extremely pleased to add these two outstanding executives, James Hewitt and Nick Cerise, to the Travelex senior management team,” said Anthony Wagerman, CEO, Travelex. “Both James and Nick bring tremendous digital payments experience and successful track records of growing new vertical business to their respective positions. We see these collective strengths enhancing our strategies for reinventingthe physical and digital cross-border money exchange for banks and international businesses across the globe.”
“Travelex is a tremendous international brand that has long been associated with innovation, security and customer satisfaction,” said James Hewitt. “We will develop next generation payment technologies enabling our bank clients to compete more effectively and without the need to build or enhance their own global infrastructure.”
Nick Cerise said: “We see a tremendous opportunity to leverage the brand equity that Travelex has today in both the retail and business-to-business markets. For our retail clients, we will be focusing on enhancing our mobile platform and creating greater accessibility and ease of use for our customers. We’ll also rededicate ourselves to helping our B2B clients build on the trust and the experience their consumers demand by opening up our platform as a service enabling a branded and white-labeled offering with value-added services that provide a great user experience at a competitive cost point.”
Prior to joining Travelex, Hewitt was Senior Vice President of Strategy and Business Development in Latin America and the Caribbean at Verifone, one of the world’s largest POS terminal vendors. Previously, he was with Citi for ten years and most recently as Managing Director in Citi Enterprise Payments. Hewitt oversaw the building of payment platforms targeted to emerging and evolving business sectors and led Citi’s global merchant acquiring business, processing in 52 countries, focused on digital e-commerce. He was the lead relationship banker for Google Payments globally and led the launch of Google Wallet in the U.S.
Hewitt has an MBA in international business from University of South Carolina’s Darla Moore School of Business in Columbia, S.C. He earned his BA in telecommunications from The George Washington University.
Before joining Travelex, Cerise held a variety of posts during a 13-year tenure at Western Union. As CMO and Global Head of e-commerce at Western Union Business Solutions, he was responsible for growing the organization’s diverse portfolio of global FX and payments and marketing it to business clients around the world. Through his leadership and vision, the company grew its e-commerce business through innovative financial services products and expanded its vertical channel offerings. He also led the global marketing team focused on enabling clients to grow their international business through FX and risk management services.
Other Western Union positions included Vice President and Head of Global Consumer Payments and Social Media; Chief of Staff-CMO at Western Union Ventures; Head of B2B and Digital Marketing, Americas; GM, Equity Accelerator; and Director of Marketing, CRM.
Cerise holds an MBA from Loyola University of Chicago. He earned his bachelor of science in finance, management and computer information services from Wartburg College in Waverly, Iowa.
Oil extends losses as Texas prepares to ramp up output
By Devika Krishna Kumar
NEW YORK (Reuters) – Oil prices fell for a second day on Friday, retreating further from recent highs as Texas energy companies began preparations to restart oil and gas fields shuttered by freezing weather.
Brent crude futures were down 33 cents, or 0.5%, at $63.60 a barrel by 11:06 a.m. (1606 GMT) U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures fell 60 cents, or 1%, to $59.92.
This week, both benchmarks had climbed to the highest in more than a year.
“Price pullback thus far appears corrective and is slight within the context of this month’s major upside price acceleration,” said Jim Ritterbusch, president of Ritterbusch and Associates.
Unusually cold weather in Texas and the Plains states curtailed up to 4 million barrels per day (bpd) of crude production and 21 billion cubic feet of natural gas, analysts estimated.
Texas refiners halted about a fifth of the nation’s oil processing amid power outages and severe cold.
Companies were expected to prepare for production restarts on Friday as electric power and water services slowly resume, sources said.
“While much of the selling relates to a gradual resumption of power in the Gulf coast region ahead of a significant temperature warmup, the magnitude of this week’s loss of supply may require further discounting given much uncertainty regarding the extent and possible duration of lost output,” Ritterbusch said.
Oil fell despite a surprise drop in U.S. crude stockpiles in the week to Feb. 12, before the big freeze. Inventories fell by 7.3 million barrels to 461.8 million barrels, their lowest since March, the Energy Information Administration reported on Thursday. [EIA/S]
The United States on Thursday said it was ready to talk to Iran about returning to a 2015 agreement that aimed to prevent Tehran from acquiring nuclear weapons. Still, analysts did not expect near-term reversal of sanctions on Iran that were imposed by the previous U.S. administration.
“This breakthrough increases the probability that we may see Iran returning to the oil market soon, although there is much to be discussed and a new deal will not be a carbon-copy of the 2015 nuclear deal,” said StoneX analyst Kevin Solomon.
(Additional reporting by Ahmad Ghaddar in London and Roslan Khasawneh in Singapore and Sonali Paul in Melbourne; Editing by Jason Neely, David Goodman and David Gregorio)
Analysis: Carmakers wake up to new pecking order as chip crunch intensifies
By Douglas Busvine and Christoph Steitz
BERLIN (Reuters) – The semiconductor crunch that has battered the auto sector leaves carmakers with a stark choice: pay up, stock up or risk getting stuck on the sidelines as chipmakers focus on more lucrative business elsewhere.
Car manufacturers including Volkswagen, Ford and General Motors have cut output as the chip market was swept clean by makers of consumer electronics such as smartphones – the chip industry’s preferred customers because they buy more advanced, higher-margin chips.
The semiconductor shortage – over $800 worth of silicon is packed into a modern electric vehicle – has exposed the disconnect between an auto industry spoilt by decades of just-in-time deliveries and an electronics industry supply chain it can no longer bend to its will.
“The car sector has been used to the fact that the whole supply chain is centred around cars,” said McKinsey partner Ondrej Burkacky. “What has been overlooked is that semiconductor makers actually do have an alternative.”
Automakers are responding to the shortage by lobbying governments to subsidize the construction of more chip-making capacity.
In Germany, Volkswagen has pointed the finger at suppliers, saying it gave them timely warning last April – when much global car production was idled due to the coronavirus pandemic – that it expected demand to recover strongly in the second half of the year.
That complaint by the world’s No.2 volume carmaker cuts little ice with chipmakers, who say the auto industry is both quick to cancel orders in a slump and to demand investment in new production in a recovery.
“Last year we had to furlough staff and bear the cost of carrying idle capacity,” said a source at one European semiconductor maker, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
“If the carmakers are asking us to invest in new capacity, can they please tell us who will pay for that idle capacity in the next downturn?”
The auto industry spends around $40 billion a year on chips – about a tenth of the global market. By comparison, Apple spends more on chips just to make its iPhones, Mirabaud tech analyst Neil Campling reckons.
Moreover, the chips used in cars tend to be basic products such as micro controllers made under contract at older foundries – hardly the leading-edge production technology in which chipmakers would be willing to invest.
“The suppliers are saying: ‘If we continue to produce this stuff there is nowhere else for it to go. Sony isn’t going to use it for a Playstation 5 or Apple for its next iPhone’,” said Asif Anwar at Strategy Analytics.
Chipmakers were surprised by the panicked reaction of the German car industry, which persuaded Economy Minister Peter Altmaier to write a letter in January to his counterpart in Taiwan to ask its semiconductor makers to supply more chips.
No extra supplies were forthcoming, with one German industry source joking that the Americans stood a better chance of getting more chips from Taiwan because they could at least park an aircraft carrier off the coast – referring to the ability of the United States to project power in Asia.
Closer to home, a source at another European chipmaker expressed disbelief at the poor understanding at one carmaker of how it operates.
“We got a call from one auto maker that was desperate for supply. They said: Why don’t you run a night shift to increase production?” this person said.
“What they didn’t understand is that we have been running a night shift since the beginning.”
NO QUICK FIX
While Infineon, the leading supplier of chips to the global auto industry, and Robert Bosch, the top ‘Tier 1’ parts supplier, both plan to commission new chip plants this year, there is little chance of supply shortages easing soon.
Specialist chipmakers like Infineon outsource some production of automotive chips to contract manufacturers led by Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co Ltd (TSMC), but the Asian foundries are currently prioritising high-end electronics makers as they come up against capacity constraints.
Over the longer term, the relationship between chip makers and the car industry will become closer as electric vehicles are more widely adopted and features such as assisted and autonomous driving develop, requiring more advanced chips.
But, in the short term, there is no quick fix for the lack of chip supply: IHS Markit estimates that the time it takes to deliver a microcontroller has doubled to 26 weeks and shortages will only bottom out in March.
That puts the production of 1 million light vehicles at risk in the first quarter, says IHS Markit. European chip industry executives and analysts agree that supply will not catch up with demand until later in the year.
Chip shortages are having a “snowball effect” as auto makers idle some capacity to prioritize building profitable models, said Anwar at Strategy Analytics, who forecasts a drop in car production in Europe and North America of 5%-10% in 2021.
The head of Franco-Italian chipmaker STMicroelectronics, Jean-Marc Chery, forecasts capacity constraints will affect carmakers until mid-year.
“Up to the end of the second quarter, the industry will have to manage at the lean inventory level,” Chery told a recent Goldman Sachs conference.
(Douglas Busvine from Berlin and Christoph Steitz from Frankfurt; Additional reporting by Mathieu Rosemain and Gilles Gillaume in Paris; Editing by Susan Fenton)
Aussie and sterling hit multi-year highs on recovery bets
By Tommy Wilkes
LONDON (Reuters) – The Australian dollar rose to near a three-year high and the British pound scaled $1.40 for the first time since 2018 on optimism about economic rebounds in the two countries and after the U.S. dollar was knocked by disappointing jobs data.
The U.S. currency had been rising in recent days as a jump in Treasury yields on the back of the so-called reflation trade drew investors. But an unexpected increase in U.S. weekly jobless claims soured the economic outlook and sent the dollar lower overnight.
On Friday it traded down 0.3% against a basket of currencies, with the dollar index at 90.309.
The Aussie rose 0.8% to $0.784, its highest since March 2018. The currency, which is closely linked to commodity prices and the outlook for global growth, has been helped by a recent rally in commodity prices.
The New Zealand dollar also gained, and was not far off a more than two-year high, while the Canadian dollar rose too.
Sterling rose to $1.4009 on Friday, an almost three-year high amid Britain’s aggressive vaccination programme.
Given the size of Britain’s vital services sector, analysts say the faster it can reopen the economy, the better for the currency. Sterling was also helped by better-than-expected purchasing managers index flash survey data for February.
The U.S. dollar has been weighed down by a string of soft labour data, even as other indicators have shown resilience, and as President Joe Biden’s pandemic relief efforts take shape, including a proposed $1.9 trillion spending package.
Despite the recent rise in U.S. yields, many analysts think they won’t climb too much higher, limiting the benefit for the dollar.
“Our view remains that the Fed will hold the line and remain very cautious about tapering asset purchases. We think it will keep communicating that tightening is very far off, which should dampen pro-dollar sentiment,” said UBS Global Wealth Management strategist Gaétan Peroux and analyst Tilmann Kolb.
ING analysts said “the rise in rates will be self-regulating, meaning the dollar need not correct too much higher”.
They see the greenback index trading down to the 90.10 to 91.05 range.
The euro rose 0.4% to $1.2134. The single currency showed little reaction to purchasing manager index data, which showed a slowdown in business activity in February. However, factories had their busiest month in three years, buoying sentiment.
The dollar bought 105.39 yen, down 0.3% and a continued retreat from the five-month high of 106.225 reached Wednesday.
(Editing by Hugh Lawson and Pravin Char)
Shares rise as cyclical stocks provide support; yields climb
By Saqib Iqbal Ahmed NEW YORK (Reuters) – A gauge of global equity markets snapped a 3-day losing streak to...
Battling Covid collateral damage, Renault says 2021 will be volatile
By Gilles Guillaume PARIS (Reuters) – Renault said on Friday it is still fighting the lingering effects of the COVID-19...
Portable Oxygen Concentrators Market to Register 7.8% CAGR Through 2026; Sales to Surge as Oxygen Therapy Becomes Crucial in Covid-19 Treatments
Portable oxygen concentrator manufacturers are largely concerned with the maintenance of inventories throughout the coronavirus crisis, with optimization of supply...
Cancer Supportive Care Products Market to Reach US$ 32 Bn by 2030; Sales Limited by Complications for Cancer Patients Through Covid-19 Infections
The cancer supportive care products market is anticipated to reach a valuation of US$ 32 billion by 2030. The industry is expected...
Bronchoscopes Sales to Rise 1.5x Between 2018 and 2028; Potential Covid-19 Diagnostic Applications to Generate Lucrative Growth Opportunities
Bronchoscope manufacturers remain focused on development initiatives to improve product functionality and accuracy for higher adoption amid healthcare facilities. The bronchoscopes...
US$ 1.1 Bn Hypoparathyroidism Treatment Market Still in Infancy
Mushrooming incidences of thyroid cancer have amplified the number of thoracic surgeries, thus stimulating growth of hypoparathyroidism treatment market. Future...
Asia Pacific Plastic Additives Market Research Report by Type, by Production Technology, by Application, by Function – Global Forecast to 2020 – Cumulative Impact of COVID-19
The market report envelopes an all-in information of the global Asia Pacific Plastic Additives market and the nature of the market growth...
Comprehensive Report on Metal Stamping Market 2021 | Trends, Growth Demand, Opportunities & Forecast To 2025 | American Industrial Company, Martinrea International Inc., Magna International Inc
The market report envelopes an all-in information of the global Metal Stamping market and the nature of the market growth over the foreseeable...
Rheology Modifiers Market 2021 Segmentation and Analysis by Recent Trends, consumption by Regional data, Development, Investigation, Growth by to 2026
The market report envelopes an all-in information of the global Rheology Modifiers market and the nature of the market growth over the...
Fine Hydrate Market | Present Scenario, Key Vendors, Industry Share, and Growth Forecast up to 2026 | Nabaltec AG, Huber Engineered Materials, Hindalco Industries Limited
Future Market Insights in this report on the fine hydrate market has drawn an in-depth picture of the global market....