Pushpay has lost its first female director, Justine Smyth, less than a year after her appointment to the board of the software company - which had been lauded for it's rapid ascent to a billion-dollar market cap, but also chipped by AUT Public Policy Professor Judy McGregor for being one of a number of local tech companies with an all-male board.
"That is unacceptable in terms of business reputation, market responsiveness, consumer confidence and gender equality," the academic said.
A brief statement to the NZX gave no reason for Smyth's departure, which is effective immediately. Smyth said in an email to the Herald that her move was "just a personal decision".
Pushpay's investor relations manager Gabrielle Wilson said, "Justine resigned from her directorship at Pushpay to enable her to dedicate more of her time to other directorships and opportunities."
Smyth is also chair of Spark's board, and a director of Auckland International Airport.
At Pushpay's online AGM on June 18, Pushpay chairman Graham Shaw noted his company passed a diversity milestone when Smyth was appointed as the first woman to Pushpay's board last August.
"We thought she was out of our reach," Shaw said.
But he revealed Smyth agreed to join on the condition that at least one other female director be appointed.
Movac partner Lovina McMurchy duly joined Pushpay's board in March.
Smyth and McMurchy's appointments were both confirmed by shareholders at the virtual AGM last month. Shaw, CEO Bruce Gordon, Peter Huljich and Chris Fowler- make up the balance of the board.
The June annual meeting included a prerecorded speech from Smyth, pitching for your re-election.
Smyth chaired PushPay's audit and risk committee and was member of its remuneration committee. Her own remuneration package was US$95,000 ($136,000) including fees.
Pushpay shares were flat at $8.01 in midday trading for a $2.3 billion market cap [UPDATE: The stock finished the day down 4.1 per cent to $7.67, outpacing the broader market's 0.3 per cent fall.]
The stock is up 122 per cent for the year.
Pushpay has recently been through a period of transition, with the departure of founders Chris Heaslip and Eliot Crowther from both their management and board positions, and the arrival of board member Chris Fowler after Pushpay bought his Colorado-based church management software company, Church Community Builder for $132m in December.
Last week, cornerstone investor the Huljich family sold a quarter of its stake in a $124 million blocktrade.
The Auckland-based maker of digital-giving software - which does 98 per cent of its business with US churches - has now seen its market cap more than double to $2.3 billion since mid-March.
The pandemic has seen many congregations in the US move to online services, and with no opportunity to pass a real-life collection plate, more have opted for Pushpay's digital-giving.
At the company's June annual meeting, operating earnings guidance for 2021 was lifted from US$48m-$52m to US$50m-$54m as Gordon set out a simple coronavirus equation.
"Pushpay expects the increase in digital giving, as a proportion of total giving, resulting from Covid-19, to outweigh any potential fall in total giving to the US faith sector," he said.