Susan Hawkins to lead Payments Canada as president and CEO

Susan Hawkins
Hawkins previously supported the launch of a real-time payments solution at TD Bank.

Payments Canada has appointed Susan Hawkins to lead the organization as president and CEO.

On Aug. 12, Hawkins will officially assume the role, which has been held by interim co-CEOs Kristina Logue and Jude Pinto since Tracey Black stepped down from the position in April after choosing not to renew her term. Once Hawkins starts, Logue will resume her role as the agency’s chief financial officer, while Pinto will resume as chief delivery officer.

“Her passion for payment innovation and proven collaborative leadership will support our drive forward as we modernize Canada’s payment systems.”

Hawkins joins Payments Canada from TD Bank Group, where she worked for over five years, serving as global head of enterprise payments and executive vice-president of US payments.

According to Payments Canada, Hawkins led the modernization and governance of payment infrastructure and payment products at the bank, and supported the creation and commercialization of a real-time payments solution.

Hawkins previously held executive roles with Fidelity Global Information Services and Metavante Payment Solutions. She also served on Payments Canada’s board from 2020 to 2023, and has been on the board of The Clearing House Payments Corporation since 2019.

“Susan is an expert in the industry and her experience spans domestic and international retail and commercial payment leadership,” Garry Foster, chair of Payments Canada’s board, said in a statement. “Her passion for payment innovation and proven collaborative leadership will support our drive forward as we modernize Canada’s payment systems.”

Payments Canada is the organization responsible for implementing payments modernization in Canada, which includes the real-time rail (RTR) system. Payments Canada initially promised to deliver the RTR in 2019, but the implementation has been fraught with delays. The launch was pushed to 2022, then later to mid-2023, and in June 2023, the launch was delayed once again

However, there have been several recent developments. In April, Payments Canada resumed the development of RTR, noting it is focused on delivering the “final pillar” of the system. Though it did not provide a date for when the new system will launch, it indicated industry testing will begin in 2026.

RELATED: As FinTech sector anticipates open banking in Budget 2024, Payments Canada reveals no Real-Time Rail until at least 2026

More recently, amendments to the Canadian Payment Act, which will expand Payments Canada’s membership to include firms other than big banks, received royal assent. That coincided with the passing of a separate bill that enshrines open banking—another framework long awaited by Canada’s FinTech sector—into law.

In a statement issued late last week, Payments Canada director of policy and government relations Lisa Sattler said the organization was reviewing its by-laws and rules in order “to assess what consequential changes are needed to reflect the details of the legislation.”

“Once we know the nature of the possible changes to our legal framework, we will consult broadly with the ecosystem,” Sattler wrote.

In a statement announcing her appointment, Hawkins said it is a “pivotal time” for Payments Canada and the industry more broadly, given these recent developments.

In an emailed statement, Alex Vronces, executive director of Fintechs Canada, told BetaKit Hawkins’ hire is “symbolic of what we already know, which is that this is an organization for Canada’s biggest banks.”

“That’s not to be critical of Susan Hawkins,” Vronces added. “Payments modernization has been a clusterf-ck in part because the preferred paths of the organization and big banks have long diverged. To get this done, you need someone who gets banks. Who knows how to talk to them. Who is trusted by them. Susan may well be that person.”

UPDATE (06/26/2024): This story was updated with additional commentary from Alex Vronces.

Feature image courtesy of #movethedial via Twitter.

Isabelle Kirkwood

Isabelle Kirkwood

Isabelle is a Vancouver-based writer with 5+ years of experience in communications and journalism and a lifelong passion for telling stories. For over two years, she has reported on all sides of the Canadian startup ecosystem, from landmark venture deals to public policy, telling the stories of the founders putting Canadian tech on the map.

0 replies on “Susan Hawkins to lead Payments Canada as president and CEO”