UPDATE 1-Network International replaces CEO with MasterCard executive Mer

(Adds detail, background, analyst quote)

Jan 5 (Reuters) - Middle East payments company Network International on Tuesday named Mastercard executive Nandan Mer as its new CEO to replace the departing Simon Haslam.

Having overseen the company’s listing in April 2019, Haslam has decided to retire and will step down by the end of this month, the company said.

His exit comes after Network International’s share price has fallen by about 50% over the past year. The company told Reuters that Haslam is retiring and his departure has nothing to do with the share price performance or questions about the DPO deal.

“Haslam’s four-year tenure at Network International is unlikely to be viewed as successful given the performance of the stock since IPO,” Jefferies analysts said, adding that investors also remain concerned by the company’s proposed acquisition of DPO and broader operations.

Network International said in December that it had hired law firm Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer to examine the planned $288 million deal for African payments company DPO. A subsidiary of DPO, AconaOnline, was purchased in 2013 from a former executive of collapsed fintech company Wirecard, prompting questions from some investors about its links to the German business.

Network International last month said that “no Wirecard directors or executives, past or present, at any time have ever been involved in the management of DPO”.

The company is expected to publish a detailed report by the end of January.

Haslam said in the company’s statement that he would work with incoming CEO Mer during a transition period to complete the DPO deal.

Mer, currently strategy head for international markets at MasterCard, has also worked at American Express, Citigroup and the United Bank for Africa, the company added. (Reporting by Muvija M in Bengaluru Editing by David Goodman)