Reg Kermode, the founder, chief executive and chairman of the taxi credit card payments system Cabcharge has died from cancer. He was 87.
He died yesterday, just 48 hours after announcing he would step down as chairman on May 12, following surgery on April 13 that revealed he had an aggressive form of cancer.
He planned to stay on as CEO to assist the incoming chairman.
In a statement released this morning, Cabcharge company secretary Andrew Skelton said Kermode “passed away suddenly and peacefully late yesterday” and passed on the condolences of the board.
“The board wishes to acknowledge the immense contribution made by Mr Kermode to the taxi industry and business community generally,” he said.
Kermode founded Cabcharge in 1976 and served on the company board for 39 years. The Cabcharge electronic payment system is used in 97% of Australia’s taxi fleet and the company, which listed on the ASX in 1999, is one of Australia’s top 200 companies.
It owns Australia’s largest taxi fleet, Combined Communications Network, which includes the Sydney brands Taxis Combined, Silver Service and ABC Cabs, as well as Newcastle Taxis and Melbourne’s Arrow and Black Cabs.
Cabcharge also has a bus network join venture with Singapore’s ComfortDelGro, which includes the Westbus Group and Kefford in Victoria.
But Kermode’s time at the helm hasn’t been without controversy, with Cabcharge’s 11% surcharge subject to sustained criticism from consumer advocates, with Choice giving the fee a Shonky Award.
Competition analysts are also highly critical, including former ACCC boss Allan Fels who examined the cost in his 2012 Taxi Industry Inquiry for the Victorian Government.
In 2010, the Australian Consumer and Competition Commission took Cabcharge to court for misuse of market power and won on three counts, costing Cabcharge $14 million in fines, plus $1 million in costs.
Kermode’s personal wealth was unknown, but is believed to be in excess of $10 million, including $2 million in remuneration.
Cabcharge shares fell more than 5% following news of his resignation on Tuesday, but have remained steady at $3.87 today.
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