FinTech Wales Announces Leadership Changes as Sarah Williams-Gardener Transitions from CEO to Chair
13 November, 2023
Sarah Williams-Gardener announces resignation as CEO, as she moves into Chair role at FinTech Wales
FinTech Wales has today announced the resignation of Sarah Williams-Gardener as CEO, who will move to assume the role of the organisation’s Chair, replacing Louise O’Shea, from January 2024.
As Chair, Sarah will support the new CEO to further develop FinTech Wales’ strategic direction, as well as ensuring the continued robust governance structure of the organisation to maintain its transparency and inclusivity. Having established Wales as a thriving fintech cluster on a global stage, it’s now time for a new CEO to lead FinTech Wales and the Welsh fintech ecosystem through its next chapter, which will be focused on attracting and supporting more fintech organisations to start and scale their business in Wales.
Sarah’s role as Chair will enable her the capacity to build on her previous experience with Government and policy makers, and ensure fintechs in Wales continue to have a voice at Government level.
Prior to joining FinTech Wales as CEO, Sarah was a founding member of Starling Bank. She also spent 17 years at IBM, latterly as Government Affairs Director working with Government departments, as well as working on commercial and innovation projects. Sarah has also held an interim CEO role at charity Hope for Children, and has played a significant role in the market, consumer insights and product design team at Fair 4 All Finance. Aswell as becoming Chair for FinTech Wales, Sarah will continue as a trustee for Surviving Economic Abuse.
During Sarah’s tenure as CEO, FinTech Wales has experienced significant success, exponential growth and numerous milestones. It has:
– grown the membership substantially by over 150%,
– supported 22 startups through FinTech Wales’ accelerator programme, The Foundry, achieving over £20 million investment for Welsh fintech startups who in turn have created over 150 highly skilled jobs in Wales,
– created an established skills strategy to ensure a constant pipeline of talent required by Welsh fintechs seeing over 100 people re-trained and work-ready for fintech and tech roles per year,
– secured £1.6million investment from Cardiff Capital Region,
– and ensured Wales was recognised globally in the Kalifa Review as a hub of fintech excellence in its own right, as well as part of Team GB’s capabilities.
FinTech Wales existing Chair, Louise O’Shea said: “The Board, Advisory Panel and team at FinTech Wales express their sincere gratitude for Sarah’s outstanding contributions and remarkable leadership throughout her tenure. We applaud Sarah’s decision to embrace this new opportunity as Chair, recognising the invaluable impact she will undoubtedly have on FinTech Wales and its future endeavours.”
Sarah Williams-Gardener, CEO, FinTech Wales: “I’m honoured to have been appointed as Chair for FinTech Wales having received overwhelming support from both the Board and Panel. It’s been a pleasure working alongside Louise O’Shea for the past four years, and, during her time as Chair, Louise has ensured that the organisation has gone from strength to strength. I’m stepping into very big shoes.
“Whilst sad that Louise has stepped down, I’m delighted that this has provided an opportunity for me to hand over the reins of FinTech Wales’ CEO whilst still being able to support and amplify the amazing things that Welsh fintechs and the FinTech Wales team are achieving. My time at FinTech Wales has been truly phenomenal, and I’m delighted to still be able to play a part in such an important and poignant mission.”
Launched in April 2019, FinTech Wales is a not-for-profit organisation who champions the tech and financial services industry in Wales. The idea behind FinTech Wales is to help businesses both in Wales and beyond to startup and scale in a supportive and collaborative atmosphere. Ultimately, the goal is to make Wales a world leader in the global fintech community. It brings together entrepreneurs and businesses of all sizes, as well as technology suppliers, innovators, universities, colleges and public sector bodies.
FinTech Wales will initiate an extensive search for a new CEO with immediate effect. The Board and executive team will work diligently to ensure a seamless transition, maintaining the organisation’s upward trajectory and continued success.
Sarah continued, “This is a fantastic opportunity for someone with the right experience to take FinTech Wales through to its next stage of growth. We are now in the third year of our four-year strategy, in which we have focused on four key pillars: skills and talent; ecosystem and community; funding and investment; and the promotion of Wales as a place for fintech and financial organisations to thrive.
“We are now looking for someone to pick up the baton and work with the Board, Advisory Panel and team for the continued success and growth of our ecosystem in Wales, the UK and beyond. This latest transition represents an exciting chapter in the FinTech Wales journey, and we look forward to welcoming a new CEO who will lead us into the future.”