Merchant Customer Exchange, or MCX, CEO Dekkers Davidson has turned in his executive washroom key and is off "to pursue other opportunities" following the revelation that Best Buy is dropping its plans to support CurrentC wireless payments in favor of Apple Pay. That's corporate speak for "you're fired," and also a big blow for the Apple Pay competitor.
MCX hunting for new CEO after Best Buy drops CurrentC for Apple Pay
CurrentC became a hot topic after the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus launched last fall with Apple Pay support. Several retailers blocked NFC-based payment systems, which includes Apple Pay, because their exclusive contracts with MCX for CurrentC forbid supporting competing payment systems.
CurrentC still hasn't launched, and with Best Buy walking away, it looks like there's less enthusiasm from the partner companies that originally signed on. Walmart and Target are still on board, but losing Best Buy won't help MCX's reputation.
Best Buy's new found support for Apple Pay probably isn't the reason Mr. Davidson is out the door. Instead, it's more likely to be a public-facing manifestation of behind the scenes mismanagement and failed leadership.
Considering CurrentC is the product of a consortium of businesses with their own agendas, Best Buy's decision isn't all that surprising. CurrentC doesn't fit with Best Buy's agenda any more, so it moved on to Apple Pay.
MCX apparently decided Mr. Davidson didn't fit with its agenda any more, so he's out the door, too. A payment system that's designed to favor retailer's wants over consumer's needs is a hard sell, and turning that into a success isn't going to be an easy task. Mr. Davidson is learning that, and who ever comes on as his replacement will have to face that, too. If not, they may get the chance to pursue new opportunities, too.
Update: Best Buy Director of External Communication Jeff Shelman told The Mac Observer the company hasn't abandoned MCX. He said,
We remain invested in MCX and remain part of MCX. Our decision to accept Apple Pay immediately in our app and later this year in our stores does not mean that we have left MCX.
He added that Best Buy hasn't ruled out offering CurrentC support along side Apple Pay. "We are continuing to evaluate MCX's pilot tests," he said. "It is too early to determine whether we will take it at launch."