Paymentus Holdings approved a change in control and severance agreement for interim CFO Paul Seamon earlier this week, roughly five months after he took the finance chief role at the Charlotte, North Carolina-based company, according to a Tuesday Securities and Exchange Commission filing.
The electronic billing and payment company’s board approved the agreement “in recognition of Mr. Seamon’s expanded role and additional responsibilities as interim Chief Financial Officer,” the filing stated. Under the pact, if Seamon were terminated under certain terms and without cause, he would continue to be paid his base salary and health care premiums for six months after leaving the company, according to the filing.
The agreement is “by no means an indication of a plan for him to leave the company, by choice or termination,” according to a Paymentus representative responding by email to questions from CFO Dive. Rather, the board vote on Seamon’s severance agreement was a “formality” and “the recent action is not indicative of any decision regarding the CFO search process and should not be considered as such.”
The board appointed Seamon as the company’s interim CFO on Aug. 15, about four days after when then CFO Matt Parson notified the company of his plan to resign effective Sept. 9, according to an Aug. 16 SEC filing. The company said in the filing it intended to conduct a search of potential internal and external candidates to replace Parson.
Seamon’s annual base salary was $335,000 as of Nov. 10 and he is eligible for a target annual cash bonus of $150,000, according to an employment agreement filed with the SEC in November. The agreement also stated that he would be “eligible to participate” in the company’s change in control and severance agreement “subject to approval by the board.”
But the agreement’s timing suggests it is a sort of retention strategy signaling that “he will be compensated for sticking it out during and after they hire a new CFO,” according to Shawn Cole, president of the boutique executive search firm Cowen Partners. Most internal interim CFOs typically want to retain the seat permanently and this is likely the board’s effort to avoid losing him at a precarious time for the company, he said.
Given the amount of time that has passed since he became interim CFO, he’s likely asking what the plan is, Cole wrote in an emailed response to questions, adding that severance at CFO pay level for six months is a “nice” benefit that more finance chiefs should negotiate.
“They didn’t promote him, but gave him a carrot to stick around,” Cole stated.
In the August filing, the company spelled out that Seamon, 47, would serve as the company’s principal financial officer and noted that he had been vice president of finance and strategy since Aug. 2020.
Prior to joining the company, Seamon was executive vice president of finance at human resources firm Alight Solutions and from 2006 to 2018 he served in various corporate development strategy and finance roles at Fiserv, the filing said.
The company representative said Seamon was unavailable for comment.