People

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- Chief Executive

Gary was appointed Chief Executive Officer for First Rate in August 2017. Gary originally joined the business in October 2009 as Retail Director before being appointed Managing Director in July 2014. During his 25+ year career Gary has held a number of senior marketing and management roles in the UK cards industry. Gary 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, Post Office Financial Services and the Bank of Ireland. Gary has served on a number of VISA / MasterCard boards and committees.

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Bjorn Larsson
– Managing Director, Bank of Ireland First Currency Services and Business Development Director First Rate

Bjorn Larsson joined First Rate as Managing Director for Bank of Ireland First Currency Services in October 2008 and has since then also been a member of First Rate’s executive team. Before First Rate, Bjorn was Managing Director for Loomis Cash Management Ltd, having previously held the position of CFO at Loomis Group and a number of senior international roles within Finance at the Securitas group. Bjorn also has additional responsibility as Business Development Director for First Rate since August 2012.

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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 5 years Matthew worked for the Post Office®
 in a variety of HR roles including responsibility for all the specialist HR disciplines such as employee relations, industrial relations, reward & recognition and pensions. Prior to the Post Office®
 Matthew worked for Prudential, which in later years included Egg. The majority of this time was spent in generalist Head of HR and Director roles in life and pensions, general insurance and banking through Egg. Matthew was also Learning and Development Director which included Prudential’s off shore operation in Mumbai, India.

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Sharon Cross
– Director, Information Technology

Sharon joined us in December 2016 to lead the IT function as we continue to develop and expand our digital offering. Prior to First Rate she was CIO for Santander Consumer Finance UK as well as holding a number of senior roles in IT within various organisations mainly in the Financial Services sector. Sharon holds a BSc in Software Engineering from the University of Birmingham.

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Tim Dinneen
– Director, Risk & Strategy

Tim is responsible for the Risk and Compliance function and developing the strategic direction of the business. He had been with Post Office Financial Services (POFS) since late 2003 when he helped set up the Joint Venture. From then to 2012 he had a number of director roles including Operations & IT, Strategy, Business Development, Risk and Compliance. Previously he worked in Bank of Ireland Group functions including the set up and running of Bank of Ireland’s call centres and internet operations, Banking 365. Tim holds a Bachelor of Financial Services (BFS) degree and MBA from University College Dublin (UCD).

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Andrew Brown
- Director, Sales & Marketing

Andrew leads our dedicated Post Office®
 sales team. This team of 30 experts in FX and travel sales collectively hold over 500 years of experience in this field and have worked for many of the major travel and FX retailers in the UK. The team specialise in supporting the branch teams through dedicated training, coaching, performance management and business development. Andrew joined First Rate in 2003 from Thomas Cook where he headed up their FX bureau operations on the high street, in banks and at regional airports. Responsible for setting the sales strategy, delivering sales and profit goals, management of the team and contract negotiations with suppliers and partners.

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Andrew Hardie
- Director, Product & Services

Andrew joined First Rate in March 2007 and was appointed Finance Director in May 2011. Andrew is a member of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants and has significant experience across several sectors including retail financial services, FMCG, and business services. Prior to joining First Rate, Andrew worked for Citibank for a number of years, holding senior management positions in both Retail and International Banking. He was able to broaden his experience during this time by also holding a number of roles outside Finance including heading up the Retail Products team. Previous to this Andrew worked for Rentokil Initial and Rank Hovis MacDougall.

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Michael Gibbon
- Director, Product & Services

Michael joined First Rate in 2009 and has significant experience across multiple sectors and markets. During his career he has held a number of senior marketing and management roles internationally and in the UK. Michael has worked across financial services, payments, remittance and the consumer goods sectors. Prior to joining First Rate, he spent six years with MoneyGram where he was initially responsible for marketing across Africa and latterly headed up the marketing for UK and Ireland. Over the last five years Michael’s role has been to establish and manage the International Payments business. His role now holds overall accountability for International Payments, Prepaid and Travel Money.

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