Our people

Meet our CEO and Executive Management Team.

Gary Fitton, Chief Executive Officer

Gary was appointed CEO in August 2017, having previously served as both Managing Director and Retail Director. During his 30+ year career, Gary has held a number of senior management roles in the UK payments industry. He headed up the cards business at Egg plc during its key period of growth and innovation. Past employers also include the Lombard Group, People’s Bank and Bank of Ireland. Gary has also served on a number of VISA/Mastercard boards and committees. Gary is a Trustee of the 5 Dimensions Trust, a multi-academy trust which supports the education and development of an exceptional community of young people in Milton Keynes.

Andrew Hardie, Chief Financial Officer

Andrew joined First Rate in 2007. He is also the Managing Director of Bank of Ireland First Currency Services, the wholesale division of the company. Andrew has significant cross-sector experience, including retail, financial services, FMCG and business services. Prior to joining First Rate, he worked for Citibank for a number of years, holding senior management positions in both Retail and International Banking.

Sharon Cross, Chief Information Officer

Sharon joined us in December 2016 to lead the IT function as we continue to develop and expand our digital offering. Since October 2017, she has also been responsible for our back office and supply operations. Prior to joining First Rate, Sharon was CIO for Santander Consumer Finance UK as well as holding a number of senior roles in IT within a variety of organisations, mainly in the Financial Services sector. Sharon holds a BSc in Software Engineering from the University of Birmingham.

Matt Garrood, Chief Customer Officer

Matt leads the Customer Function for First Rate, after originally being appointed as Commercial and Marketing Director in 2019. Matt leads the Commercial, Product, Customer Experience, Digital and Marketing function for First Rate. Prior to joining us, Matt held several senior leadership positions for EE, Diageo and Virgin Atlantic. He therefore brings significant experience in Commercial, Revenue Management, Strategy and Digital Transformation from the Travel, FMCG, Retail, Digital and Ecommerce sectors. Matt is the P&L owner and is responsible for delivering sales and revenue targets. He holds an Undergraduate Degree in Computer Science, a Masters in Communication, an MBA from Henley Business School and is a Fellow of the Marketing Academy.

Matthew Starks, Director, Human Resources & Facilities Management

Matthew joined First Rate in September 2012, having spent the majority of his career as an HR professional in the financial services industry. For the previous five years, Matthew worked for the

Post Office in a variety of HR roles, both specialist and generalist, including HR Director for the Post Office immediately before moving to First Rate. Prior to that, Matthew worked for Prudential, which in later years included Egg. The majority of this time was spent in Head of HR and Director roles in life and pensions, general insurance and banking. At Prudential, Matthew was also Learning and Development Director, with the company’s off-shore operation in Mumbai, India included in this remit.

Significant experience across multiple markets, including financial services, payments, remittance and the consumer goods sector. During his career he has held a number of senior marketing and management roles, both in the UK and internationally. Prior to joining First Rate, he spent six years with MoneyGram where he was initially responsible for marketing across Africa and latterly headed up marketing for the UK and Ireland.

Alexandra Zafeiropoulou, Director Risk and Compliance