Clairmail Inc. says hiring a new chief executive and moving its founder, the previous CEO, into the role of chief strategy officer will help it continue to grow in this country and pursue opportunities abroad.
The Novato, Calif., mobile technology company said Monday that it hired Pete Daffern, who has a history of running technology firms, as its CEO on Jan. 5. He succeeded Joe Salesky, who will remain the chairman.
Mr. Salesky said in an interview that the hiring resulted from a six-month search for someone who could guide Clairmail as it seeks new markets.
In particular, it is seeking further international growth and to apply its technology to more bank product lines.
"We've grown dramatically over the past four years, and at this point, to continue that growth and continue our thought leadership, it's really necessary to expand the team and bring on someone whose core strengths are in the areas of sales expansion and operational expansion," Mr. Salesky said.
Clairmail said Mr. Daffern was unavailable for interviews Monday.
As the chief strategy officer, Mr. Salesky said part of his focus will be on entering relationships like the one announced in May with Fidelity National Information Services Inc. to distribute its mobile banking software in Europe and Latin America.
Clairmail's flagship product is designed to let people use their mobile phones to access checking account information, and it also has a version that works with card accounts. Mr. Salesky said he expects to develop versions that work with other types of accounts.
Mr. Salesky said that in his new role, he will "continue that work … in building strategic relationships in the marketplace." Though Clairmail already has partnerships, such as the Fidelity one, to further these goals, the process of forging alliances is "something that we had not had sufficient focus on" before Mr. Daffern's hiring.
In his role as CEO, Mr. Daffern is expected to take the strategies Mr. Salesky initiates and focus on their execution, according to Mr. Salesky.
"Pete really brought together the right skills to grow Clairmail and continue our leadership and do it in a way that complements my strengths in corporate development and thought leadership," he said.
Nick Holland, a senior analyst at the Boston market research company Aite Group LLC, said that bringing in a veteran chief executive will offer numerous advantages.
In mobile banking, "the landscape's a lot more competitive than it was even 12 months ago," he said, and U.S. companies are getting more competition from their foreign rivals.
Clairmail's strategy of international expansion is good, but its plans to apply its technology to other banking products is where the real money is, Mr. Holland said.
In particular, there is money to be made in small-business banking, where customer needs are "less about having your balance and your last four transactions" and more about having the tools so that "you're not tethered to your office" to process payments, he said.
Small-business owners could be willing to pay for access to such tools through their mobile phones, even if they are reluctant to pay for them through other channels, Mr. Holland said.
There are still opportunities for financial companies to generate revenue with mobile banking, in contrast to standard online banking, Mr. Holland said. "The genie's not actually out of the bottle. It's not like online banking, where it's expected to be free."