By Aastha Agnihotri
(Reuters) - Monitise Plc, a provider of mobile banking and payment systems, has hired a former Visa Inc executive to co-run the company as it pursues a sevenfold increase in users by 2018.
Shares of Monitise rose more than 7 percent on Wednesday morning after the company announced the appointment of Elizabeth Buse as co-chief executive.
Buse, 53, will work alongside Monitise's founder and current chief executive, Alastair Lukies. Her appointment is effective immediately.
"Her joining gives a lot of credibility to Monitise as a business and to their claim of gaining market share in the business in the U.S.," said Ali Khwaja, analyst at Berenberg bank.
Founded in 2003, Monitise says it processes mobile payments, purchases and transfers to the value of $71 billion annually. Its customers include Telefonica SA, Samsung Electronics Co Ltd, MasterCard Inc and Visa.
The company, which has a market capitalization of 1.17 billion pounds ($1.96 billion), this year unveiled plans to increase the number of its registered users to 200 million by 2018 from 28 million.
Buse, a U.S. national, will take over the running of Monitise's day-to-day operations and will oversee technology, sales and marketing. Lukies will focus on corporate development and key relationships with partners and major shareholders.
"The co-CEO approach has been more successful when there is a clear separation of areas of responsibility," Mark Palmer, analyst at BTIG, wrote in a note. "(Monitise) appears to have created such a clear separation between the roles."
Buse was on Monitise's board from July 2010 until October 2012. She joined Visa in 1998 and held several senior positions at the company before stepping down as executive vice-president of solutions in March.
She holds a Master's Degree in Business Administration from the Haas School at the University of California Berkeley. She has been granted 5 million share options with an exercise price of 1 pence.
Monitise's shares were up 3.6 percent at 66.88 pence at 1135 GMT. ($1 = 0.5974 British Pounds)
(Editing by Gopakumar Warrier and Robin Paxton)