Richard Hadfield was commenting yesterday on new accounts that show that Loyaltybuild Ltd’s pre-tax profits declined by 69% to €1.3m in 2013 in spite of revenues increasing by 10% to €12.3m.
The Ennis-based firm that operates a customer loyalty programme for the likes of SuperValu and Axa was the victim of a cyber attack on November 13, 2013.
As a result, the Data Protection Commissioner slapped a prohibition order on the firm that stopped it from operating in Ireland for a period of time.
The commissioner confirmed that the data breach involved the breach of personal data of 1.5m individuals including 376,000 individuals whose full credit card data was compromised.
The order was lifted last February and Loyaltybuild re-launched in Ireland last July and with its Nordic partners last February.
Mr Hadfield confirmed yesterday that the firm last year lost millions as a result of what he called a “very sophisticated cyber attack”.
However, Mr Hadfield stressed that the firm did not make anyone redundant or lose any client.
In an interview, Mr Hadfield said: “I wish the breach had never happened, but we are out of it and as a result we are a better and stronger organisation and have a better foundation to grow the business now.”
Referring to the impact of the cyber attack, Mr Hadfield said: “It was a tough time, but we are on a growth strategy now.”
Appointed MD last April, Mr Hadfield said that the firm has spent “north of €500,000” on new technology and security and training staff on the new measures.
Fifty-six people are employed by Loyaltybuild and Mr Hadfield said: “The character of the staff here is absolutely superb. I couldn’t fault them.”
Mr Hadfield said that not letting anyone go “was really important from a morale point of view”.
The Yorkshire man said: “Our clients have been very supportive. We are now trading pretty well. We have some way to go. We are not at 100% and we are doing far better than we expected.”
Mr Hadfield said that the Garda investigation continues into the cyber attack, but admitted that the firm doesn’t know the source or the motivation behind it.
He said, since the attack, the firm has been “audited numerous times by third parties, we want to be best of breed”.
As part of the firm’s growth strategy, Mr Hadfield said that the firm has secured its first new client since the breach, a UK-based theatre group.
He said: “It is an early victory and our aspirations are wider than that and we want to grow the business internationally”.
In 2008, three Co Clare businessmen that co-owned Loyaltybuild, founder Dominic Considine, Domhnal Slattery, and Sean Lyne, sold the firm to a US group, Affinion for €25m.