Mark Samlal is the Chief Executive Officer and Founder of PayGroup Limited (ASX:PYG), a specialist multi-country Software with a Service (SwaS) and Cloud (SaaS) based HCM (Human Capital Management) services and solutions provider. PayGroup operates in the Asia Pacific region for multinational companies, and services over 470 client entities with more than 50,000 client employees across 25 countries.
What’s your journey in becoming a CEO?
My non-traditional pathway started with the self-funded move to Singapore in 2004. I started out in Singapore heading sales for a multinational, I was then promoted to General Management and later moved into Corporate Development of a Private Equity backed company. These widely varying roles broadened my skillset and lead to a stint as CEO of a company listed on the Singapore Stock Exchange. These experiences gave me the confidence and purpose to pursue the listing of our family company PayAsia (which I was Non-Executive Chairman) as PayGroup (PYG) on the ASX in May 2018.
Tell us a bit about your business and how you are commercializing?
Our core principle is ensuring that our clients employees are paid on time and correctly, wherever they may be employed geographically, and giving our clients one consolidated view of their entire workforce. We have a direct sales force in key selling markets in Asia, and a Global Partnership Program that generates sales leads, with some of the world finest companies that rely on our technology and/or services for their clients in Asia Pacific and the Middle East.
HCM, Payroll and Payments of all payroll funds for salaries, and statutory benefits are increasingly becoming even more complex and is not a core capability of companies. However it is our key function and capability at PYG, across 33 countries since 2006.
How are you managing with the current COVID-19 pandemic on both business and personal front?
February to April 2020 was a tumultuous leadership time, especially when there were a few scares with staff members thought to have contracted COVID-19, but luckily had not. Hearing first hand stories of family members of our employees with the virus in Europe brought the realities of this alarming world health challenge to PYG management and to me personally. The business then had to manage the complexity of numerous countries stimulus packages, the impacts on changing payment requirements and our technology and services needed to lead in this swiftly changing environment.
On a secondary note as we had already fully digitised our operations in 2016, testing our Business Continuity Plan in January 2020 was a management objective, however still being 100 per cent remote in throughout June this year was certainly not expected. PYG has continued to remotely operate extremely well, and the PYG Board remain grateful to our employee’s families for allowing PayGroup to operate from their homes.
What’s the most exciting thing about running your business?
We love unlocking the potential of individuals. Also growing from a small family business to a listed ASX company has created opportunities for our team members that would have never existed before. Generating and seizing opportunities is certainly top of the list.
How do you measure success?
As we have experienced rapid growth, the foremost measure of our successes is our client retention rate, which is an industry leading 95 per cent. This is a direct result of our employees and the technology we have created and continue to invest in. All of our successes are best measured by our clients.
What do you think is the most important quality of being a CEO of a listed company?
Always remaining curious, combined with the ability to actively listen and to proactively build and manage your executive team, is paramount in pathway to successful execution of strategy. Being a Founder and then CEO, I had the advantage of selecting my executive team over time and also to invite a diverse Board of Directors focused on growth and shareholder value.
Communicate, communicate and communicate! This has been especially crucial as we have developed from a start-up to an ASX listed company. Never has this been more important than in our current pandemic environment of 2020.
There is no measure beyond that of shareholder satisfaction that keeps me determined.
What is your favourite book?
Joseph Hellier’s Catch 22 continues to fascinate me after reading it multiple times over the years. The differing perspectives explored is paralleled in managing business perspectives. Spurious legal arguments culminating in a twist, joke or ultimately the frustration of the ‘Catch 22’. Retaining calmness and a level of humour I have always tried to achieve as a CEO, as I face problematic challenges daily.
What message do you want to send to our readership in Asia?
Two years on from PYG’s successful ASX listing in May 2018, we have achieved all of our stated goals and revenue guidance to our shareholders.
We are a business that has three year contracts with auto renewals, and our annual repetitive revenue has grown 2.5 times since our IPO in March 2020. All revenue is repetitive and we can claim the world’s finest MNC’s as clients. We are growth focused, acquisitive, and in FY20 were proforma NPAT positive and cash operating positive, a focus that remains in FY21. Growth, repetitive revenue, profitable and 95 per cent retention rate of our clients are keys factors to our ongoing profit and cash generating activities.
How can people connect with you?
Company Website: https://paygrouplimited.com/