The City of London Corporation has initiated a search for a Managing Director to operate its new financial innovation and technology centre.
The center was backed with £5m in government money at the 2021 Spending Review after former Worldpay boss Sir Ron Kalifa argued in his flagship report on the sector last year that the city should build a center to be a world-leading one to become a fintech company.
With seed funding confirmed and the City of London Corporation selected by the Treasury as a delivery partner, a steering committee is now working on the development of the centre, according to documents posted to the corporation’s website and a public job posting in August.
One of the committee’s first tasks is to select a director for the centre. The CEO “will have a deep understanding of the financial innovation ecosystem in the UK, including the role of the financial services and technology industries, regulators, government and others in driving positive change,” the ad reads.
“The long-term funding and sustainability of [the Centre] is key to its success,” it adds. “This should be a priority for the CEO from the start, and he needs the necessary experience in running a company, its finances and relationships with initial and follow-on investors to ensure that the company can function effectively from a financing perspective.”
Russell Reynolds Associates – the headhunter who is also currently working on a replacement for the CEO of private equity giant Carlyle – has been tasked with the search.
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The job advertisement does not mention a specific salary, the remuneration is “competitive”. The company has been asked for comment.
The search is taking place as the steering committee tasked with setting up the center begins laying the groundwork for its operations.
Chaired by Sir Ron and featuring figures such as the Financial Conduct Authority and Innovate Finance, the latest minutes indicate that a decision on a chair for the center is due to be taken in early September. A “playbook” of the committee’s recommendations will be developed in the coming weeks and then handed over to the new leadership team, they add. Potential future funding models will likely be addressed.
Big-four services company EY supports the committee, minutes show.
The committee has created a mission statement – “Accelerating growth opportunities and removing barriers to growth for fintech, by bringing together the best minds from the ecosystem to deliver better outcomes for consumers and SMEs across the UK” – and two key objectives: to bring “coalitions ‘ brought together experts to address the Kalifa Review’s priorities and ‘support the creation of high-income, technology-based jobs nationwide’, while improving access for consumers and global reach for businesses.
A person with knowledge of the center told Financial News the company had also put £500,000 into the project. However, the company says it is “not appropriate” to try to dictate the future funding model or which senior staff will be chosen to run the centre.
“It’s a big project, but with the new management team, things will really take off,” they said.
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