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Rescued fintech Railsr recruits ex-blockchain executive as new CEO

A payments company rescued weeks ago from the brink of outright collapse has lured an experienced fintech executive to spearhead a transformation plan under its new owners.

Sky News has learnt that Railsr will announce on Tuesday the appointment of Philippe Morel as its new chief executive.

Mr Morel, the former boss of SETL, a blockchain company that was sold recently, will join Railsr just a month after parts of it were sold through an expedited insolvency process.

The transaction was the culmination of a rapid descent for a company best-known in the UK for having snapped up the British operations of Wirecard, the scandal-hit German finance group.

Railsr had been valued at close to $1bn – the magical ‘unicorn’ status desired by technology start-ups – but saw its assets sold for less than £500,000, according to administrators’ filings.

Rick Haythornthwaite, the respected industrialist hired as chairman several months ago, helped to steer a path through the company’s financial distress and has now orchestrated the recruitment of a new executive team, according to insiders.

Alongside Mr Morel, Railsr is also expected to announce the appointment of Debbie Lotz, a former National Australia Bank and Royal Bank of Scotland executive, as its new finance chief.

Nick Charteris, a former Railsr executive, is rejoining the company as chief operating officer after a short stint at, according to insiders.

Railsr’s assets were sold to Embedded Finance, a new holding company backed by investors D Squared Capital, Moneta VC and Ventura Capital.

A banking-as-a-service provider formerly known as Railsbank, Railsr’s customers have millions of end-users in the UK.

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The company specialises in so-called embedded finance solutions such as banking services, credit cards and digital wallets.

Prior to its brush with administration, it had been in takeover talks with Flutterwave, the African payments technology business.

Its problems deepened as technology companies have struggled to access sufficient standalone funding to survive.

Railsr itself raised a bridge funding round late last year which was designed to provide enough capital to see it through to a sale.

In total, it had raised well over $100m in equity funding since it was set up by Nigel Verdon and Clive Mitchell in 2016.

Mr Verdon once claimed that the company was “transforming the finance industry in the same way that Apple did to the music industry when they created iTunes”.

A Railsr spokeswoman declined to comment.