Coffee with the Council Podcast: Help Elect the Council’s Next Board of Advisors


Hello and welcome to Coffee with the Council. I’m Alicia Malone, Senior Manager of Public Relations at the PCI Security Standards Council. This month, we begin the election phase of the Council’s new Board of Advisors for the 2023 to 2025 term. 

New this year, the size and the role of the Board are expanding to provide a greater range of input for the Council. For the first time ever, the Board of Advisors will have the opportunity to vote on new standards and major revisions to standards prior to their release.

To talk more about the importance of the Board, I caught up with one of our current Board members, Michel Léger, who is the Executive Vice President of Global Solution Development & Innovation at INGENICO.

Alicia Malone: Hi Michel and thank you for joining us today. So, how important is it for members of the payment industry to participate with the Council?

Michel Léger: So, for us, and all the members to participate in the Council is really critical to keep improving our ecosystem and keep the fundamentals of our ecosystem at the same time. We know that we are in an ecosystem where trust is at stake. In payments, nothing happens without trust. And this is what we want and need to keep. And, at the same time, we need to change, we need to cope with the new requirements, with the new trends. We are in a digital ecosystem now that is changing a lot. I mean what the market is expecting now is different from what it had expected before. Participating for us is shaping the future. And shaping the future by keeping our fundamentals and helping the ecosystem to keep evolving and changing to meet the new requirements of our customers and our world globally. That’s why it’s so important for me.

Alicia Malone: In what ways do you and your company participate with the Council and what value do you find in it?

Michel Léger: So, for us at Ingenico, we participate in a lot of different ways, and as much as possible in all the different forums that are available within the Council. We sit on the Board of Advisors, and we really appreciate that because this is where we can leverage our vision, talk about the reality of the field when it comes to creating new standards. It’s one thing to think about the security rules and the governance and the procedure. It’s another thing to look at how you execute that on the day-to-day with your customers. You know, make it practical in some ways. So, this is what we appreciate is the voice that we can have on the Board to help bring the reality of the field and what can be executed, what can be deployed, under the constraints that we have to live with. So, it’s an important one. We participate on all the other different forums in terms of technical meetings where we can bring the expertise of our security experts that have been involved in security for years. So, we really appreciate also in a more technical way to bring in this kind of expertise, which means that we are participating now in a lot of different forums.

Alicia Malone: What do you think the Council does best?

Michel Léger: So, if we look at the Council and what they do best first it’s bringing in not only all the expertise, but all the points of view when it comes to driving something new. So, they give the direction first and that’s what you can expect from them. But they’re also bringing to the table and facilitating the discussion between different parts of the ecosystem, whether these are the technology providers, the merchants, the acquirers. So, you can get all the required opinions to really challenge any new ideas when it comes to really making it executable.

Alicia Malone: As a member of the Board of Advisors, tell us a little about your experience serving on this Board. How long have you been involved?

Michel Léger: So personally, I’ve been involved on the Board for at least five years now, so it’s been quite a long time. What I appreciate the most is actually the fact that I could be there for a long time because standards do not happen in six months or one year, right? I mean from the idea or the need, to the creation of the standard, to the deployment of the standard, to the adjustment – the life cycle, basically – you need to be there for a long time to be efficient in what you bring to the community, basically, to this ecosystem. So that’s really what I appreciate. It’s been five years. I hope it’s going to last for another five years or something. So at least you can see a full life cycle and not just popping up. You want to be there from the beginning from, you know, the execution to the deployment to really bring value into the ecosystem and learn from it. That’s very important for me as well.

Alicia Malone: What value do you find personally in serving on the Board of Advisors?

Michel Léger: I think if I look at what I get out of it, basically is this – I guess this is your question – I touched on it. I see really two aspects. First, I’ve been in this industry for a long time, more than 35 years now. So, I really appreciate the ability for me to bring this expertise to the ecosystem. On the second side, I really love the way that I keep learning from it. You know, that’s not because I’ve been there forever, that I need to christen myself when it comes to what I know in front of what the market needs, where we need to change, on having the luxury and the big opportunity and change to interact with all these experts from this industry and the new ones coming up to the table. For me, it’s a wonderful opportunity to keep learning and bring more value to the ecosystem.

Alicia Malone: Describe a success story that you’ve had by participating in Council initiatives or on the Board?

Michel Léger: So, when it comes to a success story, there are probably many I could talk about, but I would probably take the latest one that’s for me quite interesting. It’s all the work that we have done on SoftPoS in bringing payments outside of a secure device that is a PoS. When I look at it, I really appreciate this success. It’s still ongoing, right? But, close to a large success because it’s a topic where we had to change ourselves. We started from a position where we were adamant about our security position that everything needs to be fully hardware secure. And then we looked at the market demand. We looked at how we had to change and questioned ourselves. How can we change our position, accommodate the new requirements, and still keep all of our security beliefs, because we want to keep the trust in the ecosystem.

Alicia Malone: What advice would you give to a member of the payment industry who is interested in getting involved with the Council? What’s the first step a company or individual should take?

Michel Léger: So, for a new member looking for advice I would first think that they need to really commit themselves. I think this is the first step. If you are involved, first be ready to commit yourself not only to your company. I mean, that’s already a given, right? But I mean, to the ecosystem, right? I mean to our industry. Really look at the interest of this global industry. If you contribute, it’s for this main objective. So be ready to commit yourself. Be open. Don’t stay with your belief forever. You know, stay open to others’ opinions, others’ expertise. Keep your mind open to learning. I think this would be the three main pieces of advice I could tell or bring to anybody coming up in this ecosystem.

Alicia Malone: What’s the best way that the Council could encourage collaboration and participation with members of the payment industry?

Michel Léger: So, the way the Council can facilitate all these exchanges that are required in our ecosystem is definitely creating the forums in some way. I mean the place, the room, where all the members can exchange obviously it has to be channeled in a way on some certain topics that are really important for all of us. But the Council needs also to leave some freedom around it. They have to give some direction, but they have to stay open as well, right? Because they need also to listen to the ecosystem, because we are, I believe, the voice of the market in some way. We are in our day-to-day in connection with consumers, with merchants, with the market. We know what they want. We know what they need in some ways because we are day-to-day with them. So, they need also to listen to us, and that’s what they do. And obviously I’m not saying that they are not doing that. They are already doing that. But creating this space and room for these stakeholders to communicate and also keep their eyes and ears open to listen to us, I think is definitely what they should do.

Alicia Malone: Thank you so much, Michel, for sharing your insight with us. And for our listeners, we invite you to participate in the election process for our next Board of Advisors. From March 13th until March 24th, all Principal and Associate Participating Organizations and Affiliate Members are invited to vote for their Board representatives through our online portal. Please visit the Get Involved section of our website to learn more about how to vote as well as all the different ways to participate with the Council.

Vote in the BoA ElectionMore Coffee with the Council Podcasts

Like what you’ve heard? Subscribe to PCI SSC’s “Coffee with the Council” podcast by visiting any of the following platforms: Spotify, Anchor, Pocket Casts, or Google Podcasts. Coming soon, the podcast will also be available on Apple Podcasts and RadioPublic.