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Fintech Companies Nuvei, Cardless Nab New Legal Group Leaders

June 4, 2021, 8:51 PM

Nuvei Corp. and Cardless Inc., financial technology startups looking to score with their sports industry ties, have recruited their first law department leaders.

Lindsay Matthews, a longtime general counsel and corporate secretary at Canadian athletic apparel maker Gildan Activewear Inc., is the new general counsel for Nuvei Corp., the company announced June 2.

Cardless, a San Francisco-based startup founded in 2019 by two Stanford University graduates, recently recruited its own new general counsel in Smeeta Ramarathnam, who most recently served as a deputy general counsel and vice president of global regulatory and policy at online brokerage Robinhood Markets Inc.

The coronavirus pandemic has accelerated demand for digital financial services, prompting new investments. UBS Group AG in October announced plans to invest $200 million in fintech companies to further digitize services and find new ways to engage with clients, Bloomberg News reported.

Nuvei is as an online payments company that supplies technology to the sports betting sector and other vendors. Nuvei raised $805 million through an initial public offering in September on the Toronto Stock Exchange, the largest technology listing in the exchange’s history. Prior to going public, Nuvei was backed by Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec, Canada’s second-largest pension fund.

Nuvei spokesman Louis Georgakakis confirmed that Matthews is the first lawyer to hold the general counsel title at the company, which is based in Montreal and Cyprus. Matthews officially took over as Nuvei’s general counsel on May 31.

Amy Satov, a former senior legal counsel at Nuvei, left the company earlier this year to become general counsel for Balcan Plastics Inc.

Gildan, which in 2017 paid $88 million to acquire the assets of bankrupt retailer American Apparel Inc., didn’t respond to a request for comment about its general counsel role following Matthews’ departure for Nuvei.

Gildan’s executive leadership page shows that its chief human resources officer, Arun Bajaj, now has responsibility for legal affairs. Bajaj, a former general counsel at Nissan Canada Inc., also didn’t respond to a request for comment.

Cardless, one of several new companies seeking to shake up the credit card market, hired Ramarathnam in April, the company said in a statement to Bloomberg Law.

Ramarathnam, who was hired by Robinhood in 2018 from her role as trial counsel in the Securities and Exchange Commission’s enforcement division, didn’t respond to a request for comment about her new in-house role at Cardless.

Robinhood and Ramarathnam parted ways late last year and she spent a few months on sabbatical.

Ramarathnam, in a LinkedIn post a month ago, said she was “excited to share that I have joined Cardless.” The company said in a statement of its own posted to LinkedIn that it looked forward to having Ramaratham join its leadership team.

She revealed in a post last week on LinkedIn that the National Basketball Association’s Cleveland Cavaliers recently hosted Cardless employees. The company has a partnership with the franchise.

Ramarathnam, a former Foley & Lardner associate, spent more than a decade at the SEC. During her time at the regulator, she was chief of staff to former Commissioner Luis Aguilar and deputy director of the agency’s Office of Credit Ratings.

Emails obtained by WikiLeaks show that Ramarathnam was well-regarded by supporters of the Obama administration, including progressive donor Susan Sandler, who referenced Ramarathnam in an April 4, 2014, missive to former presidential counselor John Podesta Jr. about “talent for the administration.”

Ramarathnam was one of three individuals touted by Sandler in an email to Podesta about “diverse candidates who could serve” in the Obama administration. Sandler wrote that Ramarathnam, who she said had been discussed for a commissioner role at the SEC, would “make an excellent assistant secretary at Treasury.”

Ultimately, Ramarathnam remained at the SEC, which she left to join Robinhood three years ago. The company, which has shaken up its in-house legal ranks in recent months, promoted her in 2019.

To contact the reporter on this story: Brian Baxter in New York at bbaxter@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Chris Opfer at copfer@bloomberglaw.com;
John Hughes in Washington at jhughes@bloombergindustry.com

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