Following Audit Questions, Wirecard CEO Markus Braun Resigns Effective Immediately

Markus Braun has resigned his position as CEO of Wirecard AG  (WDI.DE), effective immediately.  The news came the day after the company posted that it could not account for €1.9 billion and the auditor, EY, claimed there had been attempts to deceive its work. Yesterday, Braun in a videotaped update claimed it was possible that Wirecard had been the target of fraud of considerable portion.

Wirecard said the decision for Braun to leave was in mutual consent with the Supervisory Board. The Supervisory Board of Wirecard AG appointed Dr. James H. Freis, Jr., who was appointed yesterday as a member of the management board, as interim CEO with the sole power of representation.

Yesterday, following the audit news and the fact that Wirecard intended to delay its scheduled financial report, the Supervisory Board suspended Board Member Jan Marsalek and appointed Freis with immediate effect as a member of the management board responsible for compliance. Freis will be responsible for the newly created department “Integrity, Legal and Compliance” at Wirecard.

On June 7, 2020, Wirecard issued a statement regarding regulatory investigations being conducted in connection with ad hoc announcements in advance of the publication of a KPMG special investigation report. At that time, the company claimed the ongoing investigation has no impact on the operating business of Wirecard AG.

In the ensuing fallout from the disclosures, Wirecard shares declined by around 60%. During the past week, Wirecard shares traded around €100/share. Today, in a profound loss of value the company is worth one-quarter of that with shares trading at around €25 as investors lost confidence in the management of the company, as well as the board.

Wirecard is a global payments platform with over 5800 employees providing services to more than 300,000 customers around the world.

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