Adrian Cannon.gif

Adrian Cannon

Managing Director

Witstock Limited

Adrian has enjoyed a successful and varied career including positions as a board director,
company strategist and CEO.  Adrian was a pioneer in the UK and Ireland in the use of chip card
technology as the Managing Director of Bull in the UK and Ireland.  Following a successful
period as a programme management consultant in the global payments industry Adrian
become Director of Strategy and Mergers and Acquisitions for Elavon Europe.  He returned to
management consulting as a Director of Edgar, Dunn & Co. where he led its global practice for
acquiring and payment innovation.   During this period he became the first independent
managing director of Faster Payments Scheme Limited responsible for the immediate transfer
of billions of £Sterling on a daily basis.   As a management consultant Adrian has developed
effective strategies working alongside board level teams to create new business opportunities
or address emerging threats.  Adrian has led national programmes (EMV deployment in Canada
for example) and as Programme Director (CEO) of the UK’s national programme for the
deployment of NFC enabled mobile phone applications including payment, loyalty, couponing
and transport applications.  More recently Adrian built and  led a team building an acquiring
business for a Iceland bank in the UK and has just completed a 14 month programme to
successfully convert a global payment processor into a full card scheme member and global
acquiring business using OpenWay as the core platform enabling the change.

What do you feel about the disruptions in the payment industry? What recent event /
innovation inspired or frightened you?

The payments industry is at a key point in its development.  This moment is created by the convergence
of a number of factors.  There is an emerging regulatory framework that is acting to suppress innovation
in the established players but at the same time creating opportunities for new entrants.  There is the
“legacy drag” effect of historic investment in highly centralised processing platforms by card schemes
and major acquirers that makes it harder for them to compete with innovative start-ups using more
agile technologies.  There is a change in consumer expectations caused by the rise of the international e-
commerce retail players.  This change in consumer behaviour is now filtering through into the physical
retail space and it is driving change in the payments industry.  The slow but unstoppable rise in
contactless payments is one of many examples of this change.  A general effect of the internet on
payments is that there is a shift to immediacy as a requirement for payments.  The rapid rise of volumes
for Faster Payments in the UK shows that there is a strong appetite for things to happen faster and this
will drive the card schemes towards a model that reduces transaction clearing and settlement times. 
This will trigger a move away from batch processing towards individual transaction processing and
radically alter the current models for both business and technology in the card payment industry.

When choosing a business model, what characteristics do you expect are the most
important? 

In my experience the most important characteristic of a business model in payments is how to achieve
mass effect.  So many models fail because they have not addressed the need to achieve enough
transaction volume fast enough.  Achieving this is very hard and any model that aims to displace an
incumbent technology such as cash or existing payment cards or wishes to compete alongside them
must address the human aspects of change as well as have a great technology.  Too often business
models are built around a great piece of technology but more often it is the people that decide what will
win in the market.