By making his own job obsolete, Richard Garman said he did what he set out to do as president and chief executive officer of Electronic Payment Services Inc.
Mr. Garman left his post at the Wilmington, Del., transaction processing company Thursday, seven months after EPS was acquired by Concord EFS Inc. of Memphis. Mr. Garman had been saying for a while that the best thing for EPS -- the bank-controlled owner of the MAC automated teller machine network and other transaction-processing businesses -- would be to go public or to merge with a public company.
On Feb. 26, Concord, which also specializes in transaction processing, paid about $1 billion in stock to the bank holding companies that owned EPS: First Union Corp., Bank One Corp., KeyCorp, National City Corp.,and PNC Bank Corp.
Mr. Garman and his bosses had maintained that public ownership would help the company grow. An initial public offering had been under consideration before the bid from Concord materialized.
Although EPS continues to exist as a subsidiary of Concord, the parent is pushing its brand name and wants to foster a single corporate identity.
Mr. Garman will not be replaced. His EPS duties are shared by Concord's top two executives: Edward Labry, president, and Dan Palmer, chairman and chief executive officer.
"The integration has gone very well. . . . It's really everything that I had" hoped for, said Mr. Garman. He said it was "never part of the game plan" for EPS to be a "stand-alone company (with) me involved in a line management role."
Concord's processing menu includes settlement of payments through a subsidiary, EFS National Bank. By acquiring EPS, Concord gained both MAC and Buypass Corp., a division that had been a direct competitor of Concord's point of sale processing service.
Together, Concord and EPS are considered a major nonbank force in electronic payment processing. The merger was billed as an opportunity to cross-sell services among point of sale clients and to save operating costs.
In August, Concord announced that those plans are on track: More than 9,000 gas stations and supermarkets that had been using Buypass' front-end processing services have added Concord's back-end settlement, and Concord anticipates $7 million in cost savings this year. The company has also signed 4,600 additional supermarket, petroleum, and retail locations.
The merger capped a long turnaround for EPS. Mr. Garman arrived there in 1995 as president and chief operating officer and became CEO in 1997. Mr. Garman honed and focused the company, scrapping an unsuccessful smart card venture, moving to improve customer service, and promoting managers from within.
Mr. Garman, 42, starts Monday as a partner at Financial Technology Ventures, a high-technology venture capital firm in San Francisco focusing on the financial services area. Its three other principals were once Mr. Garman's colleagues at Montgomery Securities, now part of Bank of America Corp.
Mr. Garman has been a member of Financial Technology Ventures' board of advisers since its inception last year. Four of EPS' former owners -- Bank One, KeyCorp, National City, and PNC -- are limited partners, he said.