Brandon Nussey named Chief Operating Officer; Asha Bakshani promoted to Chief Financial Officer; Rani Hammond hired as Chief People Officer.
Lightspeed Commerce Inc. (TSX: LSPD) (NYSE: LSPD), the one-stop commerce platform for merchants around the world to simplify, scale and create exceptional customer experiences, is today announcing two key promotions and a new hire for its executive leadership team.
To best align its people and organization for the next phase of company growth, Brandon Nussey will oversee the Company’s operating effectiveness in the newly-created role of Chief Operating Officer, and Asha Bakshani will head Lightspeed’s finance team as Chief Financial Officer. These promotions will be effective May 23, 2022. Rani Hammond, an accomplished global human resources executive, has been hired as Lightspeed’s Chief People Officer and will take up her new position on April 18, 2022.
“In recent years Lightspeed has grown dramatically, adding thousands of new employees around the world, new capabilities and strong revenue growth. Our executive leadership team also needs to evolve to support the company we are becoming,” said Chief Executive Officer, JP Chauvet. “Brandon, Asha and Rani are passionate, world class leaders. With their proven leadership, I am confident that Lightspeed is well set to capitalize on the opportunities before us as we continue our path to profitability and to delivering ongoing innovation and value to our customers, employees, and shareholders.”
Brandon Nussey has been Lightspeed’s Chief Financial Officer since April 2018, leading the company’s Initial Public Offerings on both the Toronto and New York Stock Exchanges, and has taken on additional operational responsibilities during his tenure. In his new role as Chief Operating Officer, Nussey will drive operating execution with a focus on Lightspeed’s path to profitability. He will oversee all core operations of the business including people, systems, legal, IT, payment and financial services operations as well as acquisition integration. Nussey will also lead Lightspeed’s key strategic business partnerships, and help drive successful execution of Lightspeed’s financial services strategies for its customers.
Asha Bakshani has a proven track record in leading all finance-related functions including financial reporting, core accounting, internal audit, financial planning & analysis and tax. As Chief Financial Officer, Bakshani will be responsible for continuing to oversee Lightspeed’s finance function as well as Lightspeed’s investor relations, reporting directly to the CEO. Bakshani has over 15 years of experience as a finance leader in the technology/media space. Bakshani is featured in this quarter’s Inside Lightspeed podcast. The exclusive interview is available now, on all major streaming platforms (see below).
Before joining Lightspeed, Bakshani was the Senior Vice President of Finance at Cineflix, a media production and distribution company. Prior to that, she spent almost 10 years working in public accounting at Deloitte and is a member of the Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada (Previously: Institute of Chartered Accountants of Canada) and a CFA charterholder.
Rani Hammond has been hired as Lightspeed Commerce’s new Chief People Officer. Hammond joins Lightspeed Commerce from GenesisCare, a global healthcare services provider where she was the Chief People & Culture Officer.
Hammond’s career includes over 20 years of human resources management and executive experience. Prior to GenesisCare, she oversaw global human resources, talent management and recruiting for 2U, a leader in delivering best-in-class digital education. Hammond also spent six years working for Hilton Worldwide as both a human resources vice president and vice president global brands performance and planning.
Hammond is a graduate of Bond University in Australia with a Bachelor of Commerce in HR Management and a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology.
Inside Lightspeed – Episode 3 – “Meet Lightspeed’s new CFO Asha Bakshani”
Gus: Welcome to Inside Lightspeed. The podcast that takes you inside the one stop commerce platform used by merchants around the world to simplify scale and provide exceptional customer experiences. This podcast may include forward-looking statements that are based on assumptions and therefore subject to risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those projected. We undertake no obligation to update these statements except as required by law. You can read about these risks and uncertainties in our filings with U.S. and Canadian securities regulators. Our commentary today may include adjusted financial measures, which are non IFRS measures. I’m Gus Papageorgiou, Lightspeed’s Head of Investor Relations, and today I’m speaking to Asha Bakshani Lightspeed’s soon-to-be-appointed Chief Financial Officer. So let’s jump right in. Welcome Asha and congratulations on your new role.
Asha: Thanks, Gus. I’m really excited about this opportunity.
Gus: Many of our investors already know you, but for those that don’t, I thought this would be a great opportunity for them to get to know our new CFO. Perhaps we can start with a little bit of your background.
Asha: Yeah. I’m uh, a chartered accountant. I graduated from McGill University in both Finance and Accounting, and then I did a graduate diploma at McGill in Accounting. I obtained my chartered accounting as well as my CFA designations. And from there I paid my dues, so to speak in public accounting, I did almost 10 years at Deloitte. And for most of that time, I did audits of both private and public companies in the technology and media space.
Gus: And then you joined Lightspeed in what, 2014 is that right?
Asha: Exactly. I joined Lightspeed at the end of 2014, after several years in the industry. So my experience up to that point was really helping companies prepare to go public. At Deloitte, having helped many companies prep for their IPOs, uh, really afforded me great insight into what an IPO entailed. So I had a really good idea of what tools were key in finance and specifically what the IPO roadmap looked like for a company. So I guess with this under my belt, I spent my early years as the VP Finance at Lightspeed, implementing back-office infrastructure, such as ERP, the budgeting tools, forecasting tools that were necessary for the velocity and the discipline needed for a public Company.
Gus: And you joined Lightspeed, uh, just as it was launching its cloud solution and entering the European market. So it’s been quite a journey. Maybe you can talk about what the company was like when you joined versus, uh, where we are now.
Asha: Yeah. I’ll give you a, a bit of context of where we come from. When I joined Lightspeed, the entire company was about 180 employees. There were only two people in finance and, uh, we were coming up to the end of our fiscal year with just under 20 million in revenue. So our little company had just completed the acquisition of a European company. It was called POS iOS, and that was the restaurant solution that we had sold as our flagship until this year when we just launched our new revamped restaurant product, which we’re calling K series. So that acquisition really marked the beginning of our entry point into the hospitality space, but also into international markets, because up until then, Lightspeed was really only retail North American focused, primarily so exciting times for me and the company, but it also marked the beginning of our strategy to do thoughtful acquisitions, to, you know, compliment our organic growth as, as you’ve seen. Uh, we’ve been very good at. So seven years, 12 acquisitions later, we’re now a truly global company and forecasting over half a billion of revenues for this current year.
Gus: And I believe you actually wrote the prospectus for the IPO when we IPOed in Toronto, right?
Asha: Yeah, of course. Every last word. Um, uh, actually I worked really closely with our legal team on the prospectus. They wrote all the boring parts and my team, and I wrote all the really exciting parts.
Gus: Wow. Accountants and lawyers arguing over who writes the most exciting stuff. You’ve been with the company for quite a while. Maybe you could talk a little bit about your relationship with Dax and JP and Brandon and you know, what made you join Lightspeed and how your career has evolved since you started?
Asha: Yeah, I’ve, I’ve worked very closely, uh, with both Dax and JP for the past seven years. Actually, when I was interviewing with Lightspeed in 2014, I met Dax and he wanted me to meet JP as well, who at the time was our Chief Revenue Officer. JP and I often joke about that day when we first met because after the interview, JP told Dax that although he liked me, he thought I was overqualified for the job and I would be bored at light speed. Seven years later, I could say, I’ve never had one dull moment at this Company. It almost feels like I’ve worked for multiple companies as the Company has been evolving so quickly. Most important, uh, what impressed me the most when I think about Dax and JP was their values and ambitions for our little Company values that they still convey every day in their jobs at light speed values, such as entrepreneurship, teamwork, candor, velocity, and of course fun. So this is why I continue to be excited about building this company and working side by side with them. And with respect to Brandon, I’ve worked alongside Brandon, our current CFO for several years now. We work really well together. I have so much respect for him. He’s an incredible CFO and he’s been a great mentor for me. So I would say in my ways, he’s actually prepped me for the role that I’m stepping into now.
Gus: I mean, we work together very closely and you’re involved very heavily in the investment community and establishing our outlook and guidance. Maybe you could talk about kind of the divisions of responsibility as your role as Exec VP of finance and how they’ll change as you enter into the CFO role.
Asha: You know, at Lightspeed, we’ve always planned really well for succession. And as a part of that, more recently, I’ve become much more involved with, you know, the capital markets, community, spending time with investors analysts to help prep for this change. I mean, I was recently in San Francisco presenting to a group of analysts, uh, at the KeyBanc conference meeting several of our shareholders as well. So JP Brandon and I have been working on this division of responsibilities for quite some time now. So I feel really prepped for the challenge.
Gus: But you know, one thing I wanted to talk about too is just the culture of the company. And, you know, my sense is that the, the culture of this company is I think very healthy,
Asha: Couldn’t agree more Gus. Uh, I actually love getting asked about the culture of the company. I have to say in my career, I’ve never seen a company where culture has been such a catalyst for growth, uh, as it is at Lightspeed, I just feel Lightspeed has this unique culture. We all feel like this is our company, even though we’ve grown to thousands of employees, the culture remains very much like that, of a startup. You know, I feel like our employees are super driven, motivated to one outcome, which is to make this the greatest company they’ve ever worked for. And, and if I think about how that happened, I, I really think that this culture started with our founder Dax and his motivation to make the company’s mission about bringing cities to life and doing good for communities and people which really resonates with our employees and our employees are really passionate about that mission. So that, that’s what I feel has led to such an incredible culture and why we have employees that just wanna do the best work of their lives.
Gus: Yeah. I think everybody at light speed feels that way. Okay. So you’re going to be assuming the Chief Financial Officer role. So if you were to look out over the next year or few years, what do you think are your key goals will be as CFO
Asha: Operationally, I continue to have the same three areas of focus as I take on this new and expanded role, which are people, profitability. And of course, looking ahead. So first I’ve always been a very people-oriented person. I expect to continue to exercise more and more influence around how we run Lightspeed in a way that makes us an employer of choice for thousands. So I, I’ve always been a believer in hiring the very best people, you know, whose capabilities span wider than my own. And then I use my experience to put them in the right roles and I help them to flourish. So in my view, that’s how you build a great company. As CFO I intend to continue this focus to maintaining this super high bar employee-driven culture at Lightspeed. Second, I’ve always been focused on our paths of profitability. Uh, you would’ve heard JP say that’s one of his focuses as CEO, JP and I are very much aligned here ever since I started at Lightspeed. My goal has really been to balance growth and profitability. We pay close attention to our unit economics, knowing that if those were healthy, then we were building a profitable business in the long term. And, you know, today, given our current scale, we’re fortunate that our investments are paying off. We are now in a position to actually make profitability a reality in the not too distant future, in quarters rather than years, which is something I really look forward to in our next stage of growth, which ties to actually my third priority, uh, focused on looking ahead, I’ve consistently focused on how we forecast in a very conservative yet realistic way to guide the market to what we can achieve while still allowing the business to plan for investing in growth. We’ve done a very good job of communicating our expectations to the market, and we’ve been transparent when we report progress against those expectations. So you would’ve seen in the last 12 quarters since our IPO, we’ve met our revenue guidance commitments every time. And I intend on keeping that as a hallmark trait of Lightspeed.
Gus: I’m really glad you didn’t say, uh, improve your IR function. So that’s great to know. Again, we worked, uh, very closely and you are an executive VP. You’ve always been just very well respected by Dax and JP and Brandon. But now as you’re CFO, how do you see your role changing and you know, what kind of changes do you hope to make to the organization?
Asha: You know, I think the CFO’s role is quite obviously operational and those were the focuses I highlighted above, but beyond the operating priorities, I think of the CFO role and, and my new role as being a true business partner to the CEO and the rest of the executive team. When I think strategically my focus will remain on a couple of main areas. I’m already, like I mentioned, involved in so much of what the market sees from us and from what the business at large expects from their CFO. And so I expect this to be seamless in almost every way, in terms of the transition. My goals are to take this great company we’ve started and keep it going. We’re much bigger and much more complex organization than when we IPOed. And, you know, things like the way we analyze the business, the way we talk about the business, the way we report on progress, those things need to keep pace. And I look forward to playing my part in making that happen.
Gus: If you were to send a message to investors, um, about Lightspeed, what would that message be?
Asha: I would re-iterate what an enormous opportunity we have ahead of us. We have a very large and stable customer base they’re customers who on average process, hundreds of thousands of GTV a year, excluding our Ecwid business, which we just purchased last fall, we have approximately 160,000 locations. And our run rate GTV is about $80 billion. So, I mean, when you think about those numbers, Gus, there’s just so much runway and so many different growth factors for us. For example, the gross processing volume that we monetized through our payment solution last quarter grew over 300% year over year, and we expect this to continue to grow. So although the markets are super unpredictable and volatile at the moment, we really feel great about where we’re headed as a company, we’ve never run our business in reaction to the stock price. We know how to run this business. We’re good at that. And we’ll continue to execute at the accelerated pace that you see from us. We will continue to deliver value for our customers and, you know, I believe the stock price will take care of itself. I do look forward to engaging with the investor and the analyst community on a very regular basis. Lightspeed has always maintained open communication with the investor community. And I look forward to continue meeting as many of our investors as possible.
Gus: Okay. That’s great. I think we’ll wrap it up there now. You will be, probably on the, on the next earnings call. So investors can look forward to hearing from you then. Thanks for taking the time and spending this, uh, time with us. And again, congratulations on your new role.
Asha: Thank you so much, Gus.
Gus: Thank you for listening to Inside Lightspeed. If you aren’t already be sure to follow Lightspeed on Linkedin, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Our handle is Lightspeed. HQ, original music for the episode was composed by Timothy LeClair. The episode was edited by Jonathan Beaton and produced by Lightspeed. See you next time.