Michael Capellas to lead First Data

Ex-Compaq head will become CEO of firm that bought New Zealand billing specialist Peace Software in 2006

New Zealand employees of Peace Software, which was acquired by Denver-based electronic payment solutions vendor First Data last year, will have former Compaq CEO Michael Capellas as their ultimate boss later this year.

Capellas has been appointed CEO of First Data, which, after buying Peace, itself became the target of a takeover, with private equity firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co putting in a bid. Capellas will assume his new role once the KKR acquisition is completed, which is expected to happen in the third quarter of this year.

Capellas succeeds Henry "Ric" Duques, who announced his intention to retire from the chairman and CEO roles in late 2005.

Capellas has served as a senior adviser to investment firm Silver Lake Partners since 2006. Prior to that, he led MCI out of bankruptcy as the company's CEO from 2002 until it was acquired by Verizon in 2006. Before MCI, he was CEO of Compaq Computer from 1999 to 2002, during which time he helped broker the company's sale to HP.

Capellas originally joined Compaq in 1998 as CIO and served as COO before being named CEO.

Peace Software founder Brian Peace left after the acquisition by First Data last year, but Peace CEO Sebastain Gunningham remained with the company following the buy. Peace's sales and marketing have long been based in the US, but it retains a research and development centre in Auckland.

Extra reporting by David Watson

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