Previously the Vice President and General Manager of Global Supplier Relations EMEA at American Express, Abrahams joined Mastercard in 2014 as Senior Vice President, Business Development & FinTech, UK and Ireland, at Mastercard. “What attracted me is the fact that it combines a strong brand with a strong legacy of innovation,” he explains. “The company brings those two aspects together in a way that not only services our customers but works with them to move payments into the future.”
“What's fascinating about Mastercard is that it allows you to bring together everything in payments, but also elevate it to the next level,” says Abrahams. As the events of the COVID-19 pandemic have already demonstrated, relying on the same payments infrastructure is untenable, and customers have been set on a new path towards unprecedented digital adoption. This, he states, is his primary focus, “The next big thing in payments will be the consideration of how the payment ecosystem is going to evolve and meet customer needs.”
There is a sense that fintech startups, by dint of being smaller, more agile, and more digitally focused, are able to deliver a better customer experience (CX) than their larger, more established counterparts. Rather than viewing this as a challenge, Abrahams declares that this capability is what excites him most about partnering with fintechs. In fact, Mastercard endeavours to reflect this new paradigm in its own operations, “The speed at which this company moves is thrilling. We don't spend too much time talking; we act, we deliver, and then look for ways to improve. That can sometimes be a challenge for bigger companies, but our partnerships with startups have kept us young and nimble.”
Regarding his personal philosophy on leadership, Abrahams says, “If you have a good leader, you will also have diversity in the team. When you are in a crisis, those different perspectives will allow you to have a much broader view of what's going on. Ultimately, you need to be comfortable making decisions on the fly with around 50% to 80% of the information you need if you're lucky. Diversity in your team allows you to absorb different viewpoints, find a balance, and move forward quickly.
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