CEO of Germany’s Wirecard quits after annual report delayed

BERLIN (AP) — The Chief Executive of German payment service provider Wirecard AG resigned yesterday, a day after the company announced that it was postponing its annual report again and its shares plummeted.

Wirecard said in a brief statement that Markus Braun resigned with immediate effect “in mutual consent” with the company’s supervisory board. James Freis, who was appointed to the management board on Thursday, was named as interim CEO.

Wirecard’s share price nosedived on Thursday after the Munich-based company said it was informed by auditors that an escrow account containing EUR1.9 billion didn’t have the necessary certificate.

Braun said on Thursday that it was “currently unclear whether fraudulent transactions to the detriment of Wirecard AG have occurred”. He said that Wirecard “will file a complaint against unknown persons.” Once seen as a stellar example of Germany’s tech industry, Wirecard has been battered by allegations of financial irregularity in recent years.

The company has hit back by claiming that its share price was being intentionally manipulated by speculators.

CEO of the Technology and Financial Services company Wirecard Markus Braun. PHOTO: AFP