Your Partner in Success
Matthew Katz, Chief Executive Officer
Matthew Katz is the founder of Verifi, Inc. and currently serves as the Chief Executive Officer. Matthew founded the company in 2005 after developing the first customised solution that systematically identifies multiple types of payment risk. He is also CEO of CAMS, LLC, a privately held company he independently financed and founded in 2012.
Matthew has a track record as a successful entrepreneur and has founded and partnered in several other businesses and consulting firms prior to Verifi, including his first successful business in college, which introduced a new interactive online gambling methodology. His previous experience includes his tenure at BK Global, the first company to develop a US legal Internet casino for a U.S. land-based casino owner, as CEO. In his role, Katz developed the casino strategy and created high-level strategic partnerships. His responsibilities also included operations, accounting, providing disclosure to state gaming boards, managing marketing campaigns, and establishing relationships with vendors.
Matthew continues to drive Verifi’s vision forward, aiding in the enhancement of Verifi’s current capabilities and delivering new products and solutions. Matthew has helped extend Verifi’s reach into a number of new markets and verticals within the payment industry. Matthew is a graduate of Washington University in St. Louis with a degree in Economics. He has been profiled by the NY Times, LA Times, Forbes, and Business Week, among others. He has also served as a speaker, panelist and presenter for various industry events, including CNP Expo.
In his free time, Matthew is passionate about cars, including Tuckers, Corvettes, Cadillacs, and classic Italian cars. He is also an animal lover and proud papa to a cat named Bailey and a new puppy named Indy. As a Technogeek, Matthew loves emerging technologies, especially his internet controlled robot named Jeff who currently serves as Chief Product Officer.
Sara Craven, Chief Operating Officer and General Counsel
Sara joined Verifi in 2009 and serves as General Counsel, managing all legal affairs for the company, including risk assessments, compliance and contract management. Additionally, as COO, she is responsible for oversight of operations including client relations, business operations, project management, technology, human relations and legal. As COO, she is responsible for assuring that Verifi values are imparted across the organisation and at every level, aligning cross-organisational strategy, processes and procedures, maintaining and monitoring KPI’s and metrics as well as responsibility for the Board of Directors meetings. Sara has deep experience across a variety of industries including gaming, music downloading, credit reporting and a number of companies in ecommerce.
Her experience includes contract drafting and negotiation, management of corporate affairs and day-to-day legal issues as well as representing clients in business litigation matters in both U.S. state and federal court. Sara is a graduate of the University of California Santa Barbara and received her Juris Doctorate from Santa Clara University School of Law.
In her free time, she enjoys spending time with family and friends. She also has a knack for insanely hard workouts and crazy eating habits. When she is not enjoying spray butter and sugar free jam, she likes to vacation in both hot and cold climates, sharing time between a sunny beach and snowy terrain. Sara is extraordinarily passionate about all things in her life, including her job at Verifi, where it is her mission to be supportive of everyone around her and help people to succeed.
Chris Derossi, Chief Technology Officer
Chris has more than 30 years experience in technology leadership. Early in his career he was the Chief Architect for MacOS at Apple, and was granted seven patents for his work there. After Apple, he helped start and grow several Silicon Valley start-up companies.
He was Founder and Chief Executive Officer of CyberArts, providing regulated real-money gaming software to licensed Internet Gaming companies around the world. He has worked closely with gaming regulators in Nevada, New Jersey, the UK, Italy, and Malta. When CyberArts was acquired by Ultimate Gaming in 2011, Chris served as the Chief Technology Officer where he launched the first legal online poker site in the United States.
Chris enjoys spending time with his wife and his two teenage children. His hobbies include working on electronics, robots, and software, restoring pinball machines, playing poker, and road biking around Red Rock Canyon outside of Las Vegas.
Ronald B. Cushey, Senior Vice President, Chief Financial Officer
Ron joined Verifi in 2016 as Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, managing all financial planning and accounting related functions for the company. Ron brings over 30 years of experience in finance and technology roles and most recently served as Vice President of Financial Planning and Analysis at Hulu.
Prior to Hulu, Ron was the Vice President of Finance with Sony Network Entertainment (SNE) where he was responsible for driving global financial analysis, financial and accounting processes and reporting, risk management, and treasury functions for Sony’s worldwide networked gaming, video, music and other digital services businesses.
Ron was also Managing Director of PricewaterhouseCoopers’ Entertainment and Media Advisory practice prior to joining SNE. In this position, Ron oversaw numerous activities such as acquisition integration analysis, new media and convergence initiatives, market analysis, licensing management, piracy issues, Sarbanes Oxley compliance, and asset securitisations and financial due diligence.
Additionally, Ron has held executive finance positions at The Hollywood Stock Exchange, Media.net Communications, Nelson Holdings/Nelson Entertainment Group, Pioneer, LIVE Entertainment, and The Harvey Entertainment Company. He began his career as a public accountant out of college with PricewaterhouseCoopers and Ernst & Young, and he is a CPA in the state of California.
Ron enjoys spending time with his wife and two daughters, and in his spare time is an avid cyclist and beachgoer. He grew up on the outskirts of Pittsburgh, PA, so is a born and raised Steelers fan, and has a degree in Accounting from West Virginia University.
Jeff Sawitke, Senior Vice President, Strategic Alliances and Business Analytics
Jeff joined Verifi in 2006 as the company’s first technical employee and brings nearly 15 years of payments experience to his leadership role. As the Senior Vice President of Strategic Alliances and Business Analytics, Jeff is responsible for managing Verifi’s key relationships with our global bank partners for purposes of combating payment fraud and improving collaboration across the payments ecosystem. Additionally, Jeff is responsible for identifying new growth opportunities and long term partnerships to support Verifi’s worldwide expansion.
Jeff was the company’s Vice President of Technology from 2006 to 2010 and enjoyed a hands-on approach to developing Verifi’s products and services from the ground up. He led a team of more than 40 people responsible for development, IT operations and PCI compliance.
In 2010, Jeff was named Chief Product Officer and led the expansion of Verifi’s products and services. He was at the forefront of curating Verifi’s partnerships with many of the top credit and debit card issuers and further growing the company’s Cardholder Dispute Resolution Network (CDRN).
Jeff began his career in Software Architecture with CardinalCommerce Corporation where he was responsible for the design and development of the company’s flagship Centinel product.
A graduate of John Carroll University, Jeff is a diehard Cleveland sports fan who enjoys a day on the golf course and coaching his son’s basketball and football teams.
Frank Stornello, Senior Vice President, Chief Marketing and Strategy Officer
Frank joined the Verifi executive team as Chief Marketing and Strategy Officer in 2013, bringing over 25 years of marketing, executive and P&L leadership. In his current role, Frank is responsible for corporate marketing and strategy development across the company. His focus is on promotion of the Verifi brand and company services, management of all media and demand generation efforts and strategy development to drive innovation and open up new business and vertical markets.
Prior to joining Verifi, Frank was President of a large privately held marketing services firm in the Chicago land area and oversaw its global operations. As Verifi’s 4th client, he has enjoyed a relationship with the company going back to its early roots and as an avid user of its services, experienced the value Verifi brings its clients firsthand for many years.
Frank has spent over 10 years at the Chief Marketing Officer level and has a diverse media background, driving change and growth in senior level positions at companies such as The Signature Group (acquired by GE) , Com Ed and Allstate. Frank graduated Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Science degree in Finance and Economics from Northern Illinois University and is based in our Chicagoland office.
Frank enjoys reading, working out and playing a variety of sports. One of his goals is to improve his golf game over time, or at a minimum, avoid hitting so many people on the course. He treasures free time with his family, traveling to warm weather destinations, and participating in his three kids’ activities.
Tony Wootton, Senior Vice President, Chief Revenue Officer
Tony joined Verifi in May 2010, and as Chief Revenue Officer is responsible for Sales, Business Development, and Global Issuer Sales and Partnerships. He brings 15 years of digital distribution and alternative payments expertise to the company. Prior to joining Verifi, Tony was Senior Vice President of Business Development at RentPayment.com, the largest payment processor for the real estate and utilities industries where he launched and managed two strategic business units, forged distribution partnerships with leading software providers and managed the company’s inside sales team.
Previous to this experience, Tony was General Manager and Vice President of Payment Solutions and Business Development for Green Dot Corporation, the nation’s leading provider of prepaid debit cards. At Green Dot, Tony developed debit card and payment programs with leading brands such as AT&T, DirecTV and Visa. Previous experience includes management positions at Fox Sports Net, NASCAR and Moviso, a mobile ringtone and game company. At Moviso, Tony was responsible for launching the first ever retail prepaid mobile content product in the U.S., with partners 7-Eleven, Wal-Mart and Best Buy.
Tony earned an MBA from UCLA’s Anderson School of Management and a BA in Philosophy from UC Santa Barbara.
Tony enjoys spending what free time he has with his family and is often found skiing in Mammoth, surfing in Malibu, or mountain biking in the Santa Monica mountains with his kids. His Cajun wife is an avid and excellent cook, so at the end of any day his favorite place to be is in his kitchen helping her consume whatever she has created.
Rick Lynch, Senior Vice President, Business Development
Rick joined Verifi in 2006 as its first employee and has over 10 years of experience in business development, sales, and marketing in the payment industry. Prior to joining Verifi, Rick served as Director of Marketing, Director of Sales, and Director of Business Development for Cardinal Commerce Corporation. While at Cardinal, Rick established and managed the inside sales division and developed strategic partnerships with payment gateways, acquirers, and payment processors. In addition, he oversaw the development and execution of marketing and public relations while managing the direct sales team. Rick has been a presenter at industry trade events, including the Direct Response Forum (DRF) and has published a number of articles in payment industry periodicals, including Transaction Trends, Transaction World and The Green Sheet. Rick holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the University of Dayton.
Rick is an avid reader, and also enjoys being active in many sports including running, swimming, biking, golf, & basketball. Rick recently completed his first Sprint Triathlon.
James Byler, Vice President, Global Issuer Sales & Partnerships
James Byler joined Verifi in 2015 as Vice President Global Issuer Sales & Partnerships, bringing to the company more than 15 years of experience in the payment, technology and financial industries. Mr. Byler has held Senior Management roles within six successful start-up’s. Mr. Byler brings a breadth of leadership in Management, Sales, Business Development, Global Operations, and Finance. Mr. Byler most recently founded Linkpay, a cloud omni channel payment platform.
Prior to Linkpay, Mr. Byler headed the North American division of Ogone, a Belgium based global payment service company acquired by Ingenico in 2013. Previously he headed the Global Payment Division of Retail Decisions a leading fraud prevention company. Additionally, Mr. Byler held the title of CEO and Chairman of LinQpay, a leading mobile payment company in South Africa with Joint Ventures in China and India acquired by Stakook in 2010. He held board advisor position with International Payment Solutions (IPS), a leading Chinese payment company. Mr. Byler also founded and was CEO of Devinix, a global payment service company, and held the position of US Country Manager for Bibit, a Dutch global payment service company acquired by the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS). Mr. Byler has worked internationally in the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Sweden, Belgium, the Netherlands, China, Hong Kong, Singapore, South Africa, Canada and the USA.
In his free time James enjoys raising his two beautiful girls. James can be found on his days off hiking or mountain biking the hills of north county San Diego or swimming with his girls on the sandy beaches. Growing up in Seattle, he has been hunting and fishing since he could walk, and loves the forest of the Pacific Northwest. He enjoys gardening and debate. James’ 5 year goal is to climb Mt Everest.
Toni Espera, Vice President, Human Resources
Toni brings 20 years of Human Resources experience to the Verifi team. She joined Verifi in 2008 and now serves as Vice President of Human Resources. Her responsibilities include all areas related to the recruiting, retention, and development of employees as well as facilities and safety. Previously, Toni was National Manager of Human Resources at Davis Langdon, a firm serving clients within the architectural/ construction industry, and handled recruiting, performance development, and compensation for operations throughout the US. Previous to this experience, she held various human resources positions at ATK and ultimately served as Manager of Human Resources at ATK Advanced Weapons. Toni has a Bachelor’s degree in Communications from Loyola Marymount University, is a certified Professional in Human Resources, and a member of SHRM and PIHRA.
When Toni is not working, she is an avid runner and artist.
Chris Marchand, Vice President, Business Development
Chris joined Verifi in 2012 and currently serves as Vice President of Business Development. Chris has been in the payment space for over a decade and has helped some of the world’s most recognisable brands mitigate CNP risk, recover revenue, reduce churn, and retain customers. As a seasoned payments industry expert, Chris has spent the past 10 years advising merchants on a diverse array of payment improvement options, including payment operations, card brand payment regulations and overcoming PCI compliance challenges. He has managed relationships for some of the largest most complex Global Merchants and has experience with both U.S. domestic and international merchant payment processing and e-Commerce, Retail, and Mobile payments ecosystems. In addition to his strategic business development and partnership responsibilities, Chris is a regular speaker at payment industry conferences and has educated thousands of merchants on payment fraud and risk mitigation, dispute and billing management, and customer retention strategies. Prior to joining Verifi, Chris managed the 3rd Party Vendor ecosystem at Chase Paymentech which included over 800 unique organisations. Responsibilities included negotiating/executing Referral Agreements/White Label Agreements to drive additional top and bottom line revenue to the organisation.
At home, Chris is a father to two great kids and loves being outdoors, especially at the beach or the lake. He coached Little League baseball with his dad for 7 years in the town where he grew up and played Little League as a kid. Chris was a Division 1 baseball player and is currently an avid New England sports fan. He also has a Black Belt in Uechi-Ryu Karate.
Lisa Tennant, Vice President, Client Relations
Lisa has over 20 years of experience in Risk Management, Strategic Client Management, Payments Operations, eCommerce and Recurring payments strategy and has served a wide range of online retail merchants, including Victoria’s Secret Catalogue, Nordstrom.com and Jewelry Television. In prior roles, her focus in chargeback operations has been on building teams, process and procedure to mitigate and fight fraud. Prior to joining Verifi, Lisa led the Strategic Account Management team at Litle & Co./Vantiv, where she was responsible for driving client satisfaction, representing the voice of the customer as an internal advocate as well as with payment brands and industry organisations. She has a track record of significantly increasing company revenues through successful penetration of value added services within the client base achieving 98%+ client retention rates. Additionally, she is a 2010 graduate of Babson Women’s Leadership Program, a member of the Direct Response Forum Merchant Advisory Board, and a graduate of the Bill Gove Public Speaking Workshop.
Lisa enjoys reading, running, traveling and spending as much time as possible with her husband Ray and her daughters Riley and Libby at the beach. Favorite quote: “Step boldly forward and take delight in how far you can go.” – Ralph Marston
Neil Smith, Regional Head of Issuer Sales & Partnerships, UK & EMEA
Neil has honed 23 years of experience in the payments industry, with expertise in Chip & PIN, PCI-DSS and Loyalty Management. Prior to joining Verifi, Neil served as Vice President of European Sales and Business Development at Proxama, Director of Sales for Fidelty National Information Services, Head of e-Risk for VISA and Senior Product Head of First Data Corporation, specialising in specialist in fraud, risk and compliance. He was also a senior member of a number of key business consultancy firms including The Business Performance Consultancy Group and the International Investor. His additional qualification follows him in the arena of Risk and Security and is a recognised ‘Certified Financial Crimes Investigator’ (CFCI).
Along with Neil’s extensive career spanning over two decades he is a keen sportsman, playing football, golf and an accomplished Skier. He also is a music composer and keen musician, with the ability to play piano, guitar and drums. Neil enjoys socialising and networking and is very much a peoples person.
Moving forward with Verifi, Ian will help broaden the Company’s merchant partnerships as they continue expansion into the UK and mainland Europe. His responsibilities will include the on-boarding of new merchants and partners as they continue to adopt Verifi’s award-winning Cardholder Dispute Resolution Network™ (CDRN).