Innovate Finance, the industry body representing the UK’s fintech sector, has appointed Lloyd’s of London chief digital officer Louise Smith as its new chair.
Smith is the first chief digital officer at Lloyd’s, having taken on the job in January last year as the historic insurance market undergoes a major transformation strategy.
She is also the government-appointed fintech envoy for Scotland, and previously spent almost a decade at RBS in its tech-focused divisions.
Smith will take over from current chair Natalie Ceeney in June, who has held the role since 2017.
Ceeney’s exit comes in the wake of the resignation of Innovate Finance chief executive Charlotte Crosswell, who stepped down earlier this year.
“It has been a wonderful four years serving as chair of Innovate Finance, and I’m hugely proud of what we have achieved as a team,” said Ceeney in a 12 May statement.
Crosswell exited in April, having helmed the body since 2017. She was replaced by Innovate Finance’s chief operating officer Janine Hirt this month, who took up the role of interim chief executive.
Innovate Finance played a significant role in the publication of the Kalifa Review in February, a lengthy document that made a number of proposals to the Treasury on how to promote the UK’s fintech sector.
However, it has faced criticism from other industry leaders for not being vocal enough with the government about the sector’s needs.
A rival lobby group was launched in response by the founders of Thought Machine, Credit Kudos, and LendInvest last year.
“It has been encouraging to see both Innovate Finance and the fintech sector mature and grow from strength to strength, and I’m pleased to be leaving the organisation in Louise and Janine’s capable hands,” Ceeney added.
Smith said she was looking forward to taking on the role “during a very exciting time for UK fintech”.
“The sector is maturing at a rapid rate and there is significant momentum following the Kalifa Review, with renewed support from government, industry and the wider community to fuel further financial innovation across the country,” Smith added.
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