Stu is the Managing Director and founder of The Rye Group, LLC, a strategic advisory firm focusing on the money transfer and e-payments space. His responsibilities include assembling and leading a team of senior advisors with substantial expertise in the unbanked and underbanked segments, to deliver results for The Rye Group’s clients. Clients have included leading financial institutions such as MasterCard and JP Morgan Chase, financial services powerhouses such as CheckFree, technology startups including Obopay that enables person-to-person remittances and payments via mobile phones, iKobo that enables online cross border remittances, Fort Knox National Company an expedited payments company and iSend that enables cross-border bill payments and reloads to mobile phone accounts.
Recently, Stu led an Opportunity Assessment Project for a large publicly held company to assess the opportunity to offer insurance products to its large base of underserved consumers at 7000 retail locations across the U.S. Among other things, The Rye Group, LLC led efforts to assess the opportunity, prepare an entry strategy, define the product offering and identify potential partner organizations to ally with. Among other projects, Stu currently leads project efforts on a cross-border bill payment and wireless phone reload/top-up project involving establishing business development relationships throughout Latin American, the Caribbean, and Africa with major wireless carriers, banks, utilities and payment processing companies.
Prior to the Rye Group, Stu served as President & CEO of Incentivecity, a Toronto based loyalty marketing technology company, where he was responsible for bringing the company from its pre-revenue stage to profitability in 18 months, raising capital in a very tight money market, and leading efforts to develop large-scale rewards programs and sales incentive programs for over 50 North American companies. Earlier, Stu spent ten years in the money transfer space, first with Western Union and then with MoneyGram as Senior Vice President/General Manager – Moneygram Payment Systems, reporting to the CEO/Chairman, and as Vice President/General Manager – Development for Western Union, reporting to the President, where he developed and launched over a dozen new products including Quick Collect, now a $600+ million business for Western Union/First Data, PhoneCard, the first nationally available branded prepaid calling card, Western Union Money Orders, and EasyPay, an in-person bill payment service.
Earlier, Stu served asVice President – Retail Marketing, The Bank of New York, where he developed and launched The 60 Minute Loan at a time when it took Chemical Bank and Citibank three days to process a new loan application. Stu graduated from New York University and received his MBA degree from Iona College.
Philippe combines general management and business development experience with classic marketing training having started his career in brand management at Procter & Gamble . He gained considerable experience in the payments, money transfer and prepaid card industries; first, at Western Union as Director Business Development where he managed the money order business and launched several new services; then at MoneyGram as VP Business Development, and SVP Marketing responsible for the strategic direction of the company’s core U.S. and Mexico services. Following MoneyGram’s sale to Viad Corp., he was named President - Consorcio Oriental, a retail operation focusing on the US-based Dominican community through 18 company-owned sites, 125 sub-agent locations. His direct experience in the prepaid card industry (open and closed loop, GPR and payroll) ranges from launching MoneyGram's prepaid phone card to program management as President at Payoneer, an international payments provider to the online industry.
Philippe has led several engagements for The Rye Group such as assisting a leading private equity firm in its due diligence efforts of an online money transfer company; planning the entry in mobile money transfer and person-to-person payments for a telecommunications company; and acting as interim CEO for a closed loop, digital prepaid card provider .
Philippe holds a BA from New York University and an MBA from Wharton.
Jim has been active in Money Transfer advising private equity firms on all the significant acquisitions in the space, the most recent being Dolex (2009), Moneygram (2008) and Ria Envia (2006). Additionally, Jim working with a team of Rye Group professionals, has reviewed independent Money Transfer firms as possible acquisition candidates including directly engaging with several of these firms and their owners/chief executives and advised a payments industry firm on the opportunity in Money Transfer. This work included the classic “Buy vs. Build” analysis. Jim brings a thorough, strategic understanding of the Money Transfer space, its competitors and opportunities.
Jim is the former Chairman & CEO of Moneygram Payment Systems, having served in that capacity from early 1996 until the company was sold to Viad in July 1998. During his tenure at Moneygram, he was responsible for bringing the company public and then selling it 18 months later. Just prior to that, he served as an EVP for Travelers from 1993 to 1996. Earlier, Jim was the President & COO of Western Union; President & CEO of Carlson Companies; President of Commercial Credit Corp where he IPO’d the company; Vice Chairman at American Express Travel Related Services and President & CEO of Avis.
He led the transformation of Western Union from a mostly domestic provider to an internationally focused player capable of leveraging its brand and technology platform to gain first mover advantage in what was, at the time, a burgeoning global business.
At Moneygram, he led the IPO and creation of a stand alone business from what was a division of First Data. Jim was able to position the company as a good value alternative to market leader Western Union and push it into an international multi-product, multi distribution mode, an approach still used today.
Jim previously served as Chairman of a Spanish language internet portal and more recently was a director for a private equity owned online Money Transfer company.
He holds a BA from the University of Chicago and is an AMP graduate from the Harvard Business School.
Alternative Money Transfer Applications, Mergers & Acquisitions, Restructuring, Prepaid applications, Electronic Bill Payments, On-line Payments and FX/Treasury
Jeff is a twenty-five year veteran of the payments industry and recent projects include advising Private Equity/Hedge Funds on investment opportunities in payments/financial technologies, sale of a Check21 software company for a Venture Capital sponsor, creation of an internet based payday lending business, mobile money transfer market assessment and acquisition identification in agent based payment models.
Prior to joining the Rye Group, Jeff served as President and CEO of iKobo an internet money transfer company that leverages a network branded VISA card instead of agents. He was part of the original American Express/First Data team that launched MoneyGram in 1988. Jeff also worked at Western Union in a variety of business units including "Dinero in Minutos" Money Transfer, EasyPay, Money Order and WUNIX Check Cashing. He rejoined MoneyGram concurrent with the Public Offering and played a key role in managing Domestic Money Transfer, Phone Card, Business Development and acquired/ran the Money Order business.
In addition, Jeff has also served as CFO/Controller for various divisions of American Express and held senior management positions at PRG Schultz, Empire Insurance and Integon Insurance. He earned his MBA from the University of Colorado and BA from the University of Florida. He was a member of Florida Blue Key, Gold Key, Omicron Delta Kappa, and listed in "Who's Who in American Colleges and Universities".
Latin America & Caribbean – Business Development Specialist
Ronald is a specialist in generating global business; specifically into the Latin American/ Caribbean markets, and has 12 years experience in money transfer, transaction processing and payment solutions. His expertise is business development, sales, marketing, client relationship, contract negotiations, start-ups and government permits within financial services including: international money transfers, bill payment, transaction processing, cross border transactions, private label, technology structuring and network implementation. He began his career in the telecom industry as General Director with responsibility for implementing start-up services for US companies in the Southern Cone. Afterwards he worked at Western Union as a Business Development Manager for Latin America. He was fundamental in closing one of the largest contracts with a network of over 4,500+ locations. Subsequently he was transferred to the Agent Network division, and managed various global projects. Following Western Union he went to work for the Nexxar Group of companies responsible for Latin America and Caribbean. Nexxar is a private label transaction processing/money transfer company with presence in 80 plus countries. Within a short period he closed various agreements throughout the LAC region, and accumulated a network of prospective clients interested in working with financial services. His accomplishments: Paying/sending agent contracts with various banks, cross border bill payment agreements, private label transaction processing, wireless prepaid credits with mobile carriers, and BPO services. Ron’s current activities for The Rye Group, LLC include serving as Lead International Business Development Consultant for iSend, a startup looking to enable cross-border bill payments, wireless top-ups, and purchases of gift cards from major retailers throughout the Latin America/Caribbean region.
Ronald is a graduate from the University of Denver.
Michael C. Yerington
General Management, M&A, Strategy and Team Building
Most recently, Mike served as the CEO of Jackson Hewitt Tax Service, where he created a new strategic direction, doubled their presence in Alternate Channels, and successfully created an exclusive relationship with Walmart.
Earlier, Mike had been active in the Money Transfer space for over 25 years, serving as President of Western Union’s Global Business Development division and as a member of the Executive Committee. With revenues of nearly $1 billion annually and a staff of over 1000, Mike led the profitable growth of the Commercial Bill Payment unit, the Transportation, Stored Value, and Prepaid products areas, as well as having responsibility for mergers and acquisitions. Earlier at Western Union, Mike held the position of President, Western Union N.A., with P&L responsibility for the Domestic Money Transfer business and the Commercial Money Transfer business. During this time, he built a high-performance 300 person sales-driven agent development team, launched WU.com, Direct Connect Agents and Kiosk Agents to expand alternative distribution channels, and increased growth of the Domestic and Commercial businesses to double digit growth rates.
He holds a BS from the College of Notre Dame DeMur and an MBA from Golden Gate University. Mike is actively involved in a number of charitable organizations, and currently resides in Texas.
International Business Development Consultant - Africa/Middle East
Mostafa is a senior level consultant with nearly 20 years experience in the wireless telecom industry, having worked in commercial, operational and general management roles in 8 different countries (Egypt, USA, Kuwait, Qatar, Tunisia, Algeria, Saudi Arabia and Nigeria), where he gained a wide exposure to different lifestyles, cultures and markets.
He is a market development expert with both short and long-term vision, and an aggressive revenue and bottom line focus that assures stakeholders are getting the expected benefit while customers are highly satisfied.
Mostafa’s nearly 20 years experience includes strategy, marketing, and business development for several of the world’s leading mobile companies including Zain Nigeria, Bravo in Saudi Arabia, and Djezzy (Orascom Telecom) in Algeria. He also played a major role in starting up Tunisiana, the leading Telecom Operator in Tunisia.
Mostafa graduated from Cairo University with a B. Sc. in Electronics and Communication and resides in Cairo, Egypt.
Software Design and Development, Technology Reviews
Camille is an IT executive with over 30 years of software development experience in the financial services industry. He has extensive knowledge of the payments industry, having led the Payment Services software development organization at Western Union. While at Western Union, he developed web payment portals, a payments consolidation platform, and created one of the largest next day payment delivery systems in the country.
He also worked on the mergers and acquisitions team to review technology systems and operations of potential purchases to determine synergies and risks and developed integration plans.
His prior experience in the banking industry involved developing commercial lending systems, payment systems linked to loyalty programs for grocery chains, and various customer service applications.
As a consultant, Camille worked with companies to provide project management expertise, introduce agile development methodologies, and developed business continuity and disaster recovery plans.
Camille has a BS in Physics from Bates College and an MBA in Finance from New York University – Stern School of Business.