Ozow hires ex-CheckOut.com financial director as new CFO as fintech scales up

Chris Browning is Ozow’s new chief financial officer. Photo: Supplied

Chris Browning is Ozow’s new chief financial officer. Photo: Supplied

Published Oct 26, 2023


Ozow, a leading payments platform in South Africa, yesterday announced the appointment of Chris Browning as its new chief financial officer (CFO) at a critical time as the fintech aims to expand its services and scale up.

Ozow, established in 2014, was co-founded by Thomas Pays, Mitchan Adams and Lyle Eckstein. The fintech firm’s investors include Kalon Venture Partners and Tencent.

Ozow said in a statement Browning’s appointment comes at a critical time for Ozow as the company aimed to expand its services and influence while pioneering open banking-based services in South Africa.

On March 5, 2020, the company achieved a milestone of R10 billion in transactions processed.

Also in March, in a move to drive greater adoption of digital payments, Ozow, in partnership with Capitec, announced its platform's integration with Capitec Pay through South Africa’s first proprietary open banking-payments API.

With API integration of Capitec Pay, Ozow cemented its position at the forefront of the push for open APIs with banks in South Africa.

“His robust background in financial management and strategy will be instrumental in guiding Ozow's financial operations and ensuring the company's continued success, whilst supporting its growth aspirations,” it said.

Browning is a seasoned finance executive with a proven track record in both established financial institutions and burgeoning fintech firms.

His most recent position was as financial director at Checkout.com, where he played a vital role in the company's rapid growth.

“Browning's tenure at Checkout.com truly demonstrated his exceptional capabilities. He joined as the 50th employee in the UK office and embarked on a remarkable journey. Over five years, he ascended the ranks to become the financial director, witnessing and contributing to the company's significant growth to over five continents - from securing a notable Series D funding round to expanding the global workforce,” the firm said.

Thomas Pays, the CEO of Ozow, said Browning was a fantastic addition to its team, bringing a wealth of financial expertise and a strong background in the international fintech sphere.

Pays said, “With invaluable knowledge gleaned from his previous experience at one of the world's leading fintech firms, we're thrilled to have him join our team and apply the global standard of best practice that he successfully implemented in his prior success to Ozow.”

"As Ozow continues to grow, his decision to join us not only demonstrates his faith in what we're doing but also signals the exciting direction we're moving in. This is more than just recruiting a new team member - it's a sign that Ozow is ready to soar in a continent where the rise of fintech is becoming increasingly competitive and innovative."

Browning said he was eager to contribute to Ozow's next phase of growth. This as the company aims to revolutionise the digital payments industry with innovative solutions and its commitment to security, efficiency, and seamless transactions.

Browning will also help realise Ozow's vision to help establish an open banking framework in South Africa, akin to the one he is familiar with from the UK.

Open banking and new payment systems are driving financial inclusion, job creation, and reducing cash reliance in South Africa. The biggest challenge open banking faces is willingness to adopt new technologies.

Browning said, "The opportunity to work with such talented and intelligent individuals greatly influenced my decision. The untapped potential of this market, coupled with the chance to introduce a variety of products, drew me to Ozow.

“It's an innovative fintech firm where I feel my efforts can truly make a difference. This is the perfect moment to do so in a market that not only has immense potential but also hosts a thriving business ready for its next phase of expansion.”