The Leasing Life Power 50: The most influential people in asset finance

28 June 2016 by Sotiris Kanaris

The fourth edition of the Leasing Life Power 50 has received more input than any previous year, with nearly 1,100 people casting votes over a two week voting period.

Readers and non-readers alike were asked to vote for five to ten people who they thought deserved to be in the list of most influential people in the European leasing industry, from a list compiled from nominations gathered during a three week period which started on the 24th of March.

The 50 people who gathered the most votes made it to the list, with the vast majority (31) working for lessors. The second largest category was advisers, which included 10 people from law firms, consultancies and accountancy firms. The other nine entries consisted of brokers, trade associations members and technology providers.

Leasing Life would like to thank everyone who participated. All entries are listed alphabetically and not in ranking order.

Adam Tyler, chief executive, NACFB

As chief executive since 2007, Tyler has been at the helm of the UK's broker body at both challenging times - the economic downturn- and periods of strong financial growth. In the past he was regional development manager at RBS and prior to that worked as a regulated financial advisor specialising in the commercial finance industry. Tyler is a regular contributor to Leasing Life's, discussing issues and opportunities for asset finance brokers.

Alan Leesmith, secretary general, European Captives Forum

Leesmith has four decades of experience in chief financial officer and chief executive officer roles in the equipment finance industry. In 2003 Alan joined The Alta Group EMEA and shortly afterwards became director and principal. Since 2010 he has been a member of the IAA-Advisory team, of which he is currently international director. He is also secretary general of the Captives Forum, the European trade association of international manufacturer's finance companies.

Allan Ross, managing director, First Independent Finance

The past year has been an exciting one for Ross, as First Independent Finance was acquired by LDF. Ross has been the managing director of the asset finance broker since 1999 and has been instrumental in the company's ties with major lenders. In the past, Ross worked for a number of finance companies, including Barclays Mercantile. Under his management the company gained an 'Investors in People' gold certification, which it has held since 2008-2009.

Andrew Denton, chief operating officer, CHP Consulting

Denton joined CHP in 1995 and was promoted to his current role in 2010. As chief operating officer he is responsible for global sales, marketing and communications as well as CHP's ALFA product. Denton is chief executive officer and joint-founder of the Leasing Foundation, an organisation that supports the leasing and asset finance industry through charitable activities, research and development.

Bill Stephenson, chief executive officer, DLL

Since joining DLL in 1987, Stephenson has served the company in several leadership positions and played an integral role in the emergence of DLL as a global market leader within the vendor finance and equipment leasing industry. He is a strong advocate of corporate social responsibility. In the autumn of 2015 he was appointed chairman of the board of directors of the Equipment Leasing and Financing Association (ELFA). Stephenson also won the Lifetime Achievement award at last year's Leasing Life conference.

Carl D'Ammassa, group managing director Business Finance, Aldermore

A regular contributor to Leasing Life, D'Ammassa joined UK challenger bank Aldermore in 2013. He made a significant contribution to the rapid growth of the bank's asset finance division portfolio, which now stands in excess of £1bn. D'Ammassa is also responsible for the invoice finance division. Prior to joining Aldermore, he held senior roles in Hitachi Capital and GE Capital. In June 2016, D'Ammassa was appointed chair of the board of directors at the Leasing Foundation.

Carmen Ene, chief exective officer, 3 Step IT

With over 20 years of international IT and financing experience, Carmen Ene is the chief executive officer of Finnish IT lessor 3 Step IT. Ene was previously vice president business analytics and optimisation at IBM Global Business Services Europe. Over the past year Ene has been involved in 3 Step IT's acquisition of TEC Finance, Nevtor Oy and ITmove. "Leasing in my mind is the vehicle to move us from where we are today into the structure of price-per-transaction, because it's the future," she said at Leasing Life's conference last November.

Carol Roberts, managing director, Bibby Leasing

With a career spanning decades and having worked for a number of key industry players, it is unsurprising that Roberts has once again been named one of the most influential people in the industry. Roberts is leading Bibby Leasing's hard asset finance team in Warrington which has grown considerably over the past two years. Roberts does not shy away from discussing issues concerning the UK leasing industry, such as gender diversity and young talent development.

Charlotte Dennery, chief executive officer, BNP Paribas Leasing Solutions

Despite leading BNP Paribas Leasing Solutions for just a year, Dennery has already gained reputation within the European leasing industry. Having joined BNP Paribas in 2001, Dennery has held a number of positions within the company before joining the leasing division. Prior to her appointment, she was simultaneously chief operating officer of BNP Paribas Investment Partners and chief executive officer of its subsidiary FundQuest.

Cormac Costelloe, vice president and general manager, Dell Financial Services EMEA

Costelloe has been featured a number of times in the Leasing Life Power 50. He is a founding member of the management team which was responsible for setting-up and developing Dell's European captive finance company. Before joining Dell, Costelloe was managing director of CIT Vendor Finance Europe. In the past he has held leadership roles in credit and business development at a number of leading financial institutions such as AMRO, ING Barings, Danske Bank and Hewlett-Packard's captive finance bank.

David Maloney, chief executive officer, VWFS UK

Maloney was appointed chief executive officer of VWFS earlier this year, replacing Graham Wheeler. Maloney has 35 years' experience in the industry, and previously worked at VWFS UK as business development director. In 2011 Maloney was promoted to joint-managing director of VWFS Australia and in 2014 has was appointed head of Europe West region for VWFS, where he oversaw the markets in Norway, Sweden, the Netherlands, Belgium, Portugal and Ireland.

Derek Soper, chairman, IAA Advisory

Few can match Soper's depth of knowledge in the global leasing industry, as he has been involved in it for more than five decades. Soper has launched and managed both start-ups and established leasing and financing companies in Europe and Asia-Pacific. He has served as chairman of the UK Equipment Leasing Association (now the Finance & Leasing Association). In 1998 he established International Advisory Associates, now IAA-Advisory, where he serves as chairman.

Eoin Moore, managing director at Commerzbank

Eoin is a managing director and head of the UK-based Structured Asset Solutions team within the Advisory & Primary Markets division of Commerzbank. He is focused on leasing, asset/receivables-based financing and structured funding facilities, and has a particular focus on providing funding solutions to companies in the small ticket leasing and asset finance market in the UK. Eoin has previously worked in a number of roles in the investment banking divisions of Commerzbank and its predecessor firm Dresdner Kleinwort.

Gabriele D'Uva, UK managing director, GE Capital Equipment Finance Business

Gabriele D'Uva is the managing director of GE Capital's Equipment Finance Business in the UK, a role he has held since 2013. D'Uva specialises in asset finance and leasing strategy development and execution, and has over 10 years of industry experience in both the UK and internationally. Prior to joining GE, he held various roles at Xerox Financial Services.

Gavin Wraith-Carter, general manager, Hitachi Capital Business Finance

Wraith-Carter joined Hitachi Capital in 2013 as head of risk and for the past two years he has held the role of general manager of the captive's business finance division. In June, the company added soft asset finance to its product range, with Wraith-Carter saying that this move demonstrated how Hitachi Capital is "going the extra mile for the SME community". In the past, he was vice president, risk & compliance at ING Lease UK.

George Ashworth, director of SME Lending, Virgin Money

One of the most talked about moves of the last year was Ashworth's departure from ABN Amro UK to join Virgin Money. Virgin Money is expected to enter the UK SME commercial lending market and Ashworth is heavily involved in its strategy. Ashworth has been active in European leasing for more than 20 years, having worked for Aldermore, Fortis Lease, Lombard and DLL. Ashworth also sits on Leaseurope's board of directors.

Ian Isaac, head, Lombard

Isaac joined Lombard nearly 30 years ago and has held a number of key positions within Lombard over the years, becoming one of the most recognisable individuals within the UK asset finance industry. In June, he was appointed chairman of the asset finance division for the Finance & Leasing Association (FLA), the trade body for the asset, consumer and motor finance sectors in the UK.

James Baird, partner, Gateley PLC

Baird has specialised in working within Banking & Asset Finance since he qualified in 1996. Prior to joining Gateley he was a partner at Lester Aldridge and before that an associate at Shoosmiths. He specialises in asset finance & banking litigation, international cross border and fraud recoveries. Recent successes include the recovery of high-value vehicles from Antwerp docks prior to trans-shipment to Hong Kong.

Jeremiah J. Silkowski, chief executive officer, SQN Capital Management UK and US

Silkowski formed SQN Capital Corporation in 2006 to provide asset-backed and lease-based financing to the under-served sectors such as the marine and energy markets. In 2007, Silkowski formed SQN Capital Management designed specifically to bring collateralized, non-correlated investments to the registered investment advisor community. Prior to SQN Capital Corporation, Mr. Silkowski spent thirteen years at ICON Capital, with his last role being senior vice president.

Joanne Davis, partner, head of asset finance Locke Lord UK

A regular in the Power 50 list, Davis recently joined Locke Lord LLP as partner and head of the firm's asset, leasing and consumer finance division in the UK. She assists clients and advises on contentious matters such as asset and motor finance asset recoveries, finance litigation and dispute resolution. Davis' experience and reputation make her a valuable asset in Locke Lord's effort to grow its market share.

Jonathan Andrew, global chief executive officer commercial finance, Siemens Financial Services

Andrew joined Siemens Financial Services in 2002 and since then he has held a number of chief executive positions within the leasing giant. Before joining Siemens Financial Services, he was chief financial officer international at Gateway, prior to which he held various leadership roles in GE Capital. Andrew, who has an active voice in promoting the leasing industry, is a founding governor and patron of the Leasing Foundation.

Julian Rose, director of consultancy, Asset Finance Policy

Apart from providing advice to key industry players, Rose is known in the industry for his role as head of asset finance at the FLA from 2008 to 2014. In 2014, he decided to establish his own regulatory affairs consultancy Asset Finance Policy. He previously worked in regulation for five years with the Competition Commission and the Financial Reporting Council. He has also been a management consultant with KPMG and PwC, and worked in industry with NCR and United Parcel Service.

Kai Ostermann, chief executive officer, chairman of the board, Deutsche Leasing

The sheer power of Deutsche Leasing in the German and European market in combination in combination with Ostermann's wealth of experience, undoubtedly classify him as one of the most influential individuals in the industry. Ostermann has been chairman of the board at Deutsche Leasing since 2010. Prior to joining Deutsche Leasing he was chairman of the executive board of company what is now known as Deutsche Anlagen-Leasing.

Keith Softly, head of fixed assets, Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking

Softly is the head of asset and invoice finance product and is part of the product leadership team within Global Transaction Banking at Lloyds Bank. Prior to joining Lloyds, Softly was head of strategy and product development at Lombard and started his career in financial services as a graduate at Schroder Leasing. He has also worked for CIT, Hitachi Capital and Abbey National Business. At the Leasing Life event Softly gave an insightful speech on the reinvention of the bank-backed asset finance market, and how the crisis was a lesson on prudence and process.

Kerry Howells, managing director, Tower Leasing

Howells joined the new business department of Tower Leasing straight after university. In November 2006, she was appointed commercial director and became managing director in October 2012. Since Acuity Investment acquired the business in 2015, Kerry has continued to grow the business and strengthened relationships with existing and potential clients. Earlier this year Tower Leasing opened a second UK office in Staffordshire.

Kieran Marshall, head, AIB Finance and Leasing

Marshall has over 30 years' experience in the financial services sector, holding senior management positions across multiple functions and businesses both domestic and international. At AIB, he has held senior management positions as head of operations, head of new business acquisition and head of corporate leasing.Prior to joining AIB, Marshall was head of Corporate & Institutional (C&I) Banking in Danske Bank.

Lindsay Town, chief executive, IAA Advisory

Town has been in the asset finance and leasing industry for over 35 years. His career to date covers several organisations, including Bank of Scotland, Barclays, Lloyds TSB and PwC. He joined IAA-Advisory in 2014 as a director and earlier this year, the company's board appointed him chief executive as part of a major development of its business. He is a member of Leasing Life's advisory board and he was on the judging panel for the Leasing Life 2015 awards in Budapest.

Lisa Marks, partner, Stephenson Harwood

Marks has over 25 years of experience in the leasing sector and regularly advises a variety of banks and financial institutions in relation to all types of structures. She has active role in discussions relating to the development of the leasing industry, therefore her consistency in the Power 50 list is not a surprise. Marks was previously a partner in the finance practice at Berwin Leighton Paisner for eight years. Stephenson Harwood won the 'Asset Finance Legal Provider of the Year' award at last year's Leasing Life awards.

Louise Ikonomides, managing director, Virtual Lease Services

Ikonomides joined Virtual Lease Services (VLS) - owned by a joint venture of NetSol Technologies Europe and Investec Asset Finance - in 1999. She was appointed managing director in 2013, after nearly 7 years as a regional manager. Last year VLS provided due diligence to 1pm's £12m acquisition of MH Holdings (UK), with Ikonomides leading the audit work.

Marie Christine Ducholet, chief executive officer, Societe Generale Equipment Finance

Ducholet joined Société Générale in 1985 and was named chief executive officer of the equipment finance division in 2011. Prior to this appointment, she was co-head of strategic & acquisition finance worldwide. Under her management, Societe Generale Equipment Finance not only managed to maintain the top position in the continent in terms of volumes, but has also been witnessing continuous growth in new business volumes.

Matt Jones, head of asset finance, Henry Howard Finance

Jones began his asset finance career in 1997 at Lombard North Central, where he quickly rose through the ranks. He was director of asset finance at Lombard for seven years, before joining Henry Howard Finance in 2014. Earlier this year Henry Howard Finance agreed a £51m (€67.07m) asset finance facility under the British Business Bank's 'Enable Funding' programme.

Mary McNamara, chair of the Governors, Leasing Foundation

McNamara is one of the most recognisable faces in the UK leasing industry, with an active role in promoting diversity and nurturing new talent through her post at the Leasing Foundation. McNamara stepped down as chief executive of Close Brothers Commercial Finance in 2013 after three years in the post. Prior to this she worked at GE for 17 years with leadership roles across the Consumer and Commercial Finance businesses, including UK chief executive officer of its Equipment Finance business.

Mel Chell, partner, Shoosmiths

Having provided advice to key players in the asset finance industry, it's unsurprising that Chell retained her position in the top 50. As national head of asset finance within Shoosmiths' Recoveries Services Group, she advises clients in relation to recovery of assets and monies. Chell trained with Shoosmiths qualifying in 2000 and returned to the firm in January 2011, after working as a partner in the banking and asset finance team at Gateley.

Nathan Mollett, head of asset finance, Metro Bank

Mollett joined Metro Bank in 2015 and is responsible for the strategy, execution and business results of the challenger bank's asset finance business. Mollett, who has more than 20 years asset finance experience, was previously sales director at Syscap where he led their technology finance business which included vendor finance schemes in the UK and EMEA. In the past, he also worked at Bank of Scotland. He is a fellow at the Leasing Foundation and actively supports their Future Leaders programme and the Women in Leasing initiative.

Neil Davies, chief executive officer, Close Brothers Asset Finance and Leasing

With over 27 years' sector experience Davies joined Close Brothers in 2007 to establish its Leasing business, and has overseen significant growth over the past decade in its various divisions, including setting up Close Brothers' newest business, Technology Services. Davies' experience includes lease finance, both as intermediary and lessor, primarily in middle and large tickets transactions. Following a recent internal restructure, he has taken on a broader remit, and is now also responsible for the previously separate Asset Finance division.

Nils Jaeger, president, Volvo Financial Services

Jæger is the president of Volvo Financial Services EMEA since 2014. Between 1997 and 2014 he held a number of positions of increasing responsibility at John Deere, primarily in its captive finance division, across the world. He is also the chairman of the European Captives Forum. "We see an increasing need for the Forum's function in providing an association which focuses on the challenges and opportunities manufacturers are facing in providing not only financial solutions for their clients," he said earlier this year.

Paul Jennings, managing director, JCB Finance UK

Having joined JCB Finance UK in 1979, Jennings held a number of roles before being appointed managing director in 2011. JCB Finance has reported eight years of consecutive growth in new business and Jennings predicts 2016 will also be a successful year for the company. Under his management, JCB Finance has launched a number of products including JCB FlexiLease and a point-of-sales app called JCB sales master.

Peter Alderson, managing director, LDF

With 30 years' experience within a number of global finance houses, Alderson joined LDF in 2012. He oversaw the company's rapid business growth, from writing £30m to its book in 2013 to providing £185m via this channel in 2015. Alderson lead the acquisition of First Independent Finance in 2015, which saw the LDF Group's employees rise from 130 to over 170. He anticipates that LDF Group will provide £400m in funding to UK SMEs in 2016.

Philip White, commercial director, Wesleyan Bank

White joined Syscap in 1993 and became managing director in 2006, after leading a management buy-out. In February 2015 Syscap was acquired by Wesleyan Bank and he was given the role of commercial director at the company. White is vice chair of the FLA Technology Group and a fellow of the Leasing Foundation. Syscap won the 'SME Champion: UK' award at last year's Leasing Life conference.

Rich Green, chief executive officer, Pan European Asset Company (PEAC)

Green has extensive experience of the leasing industry having undertaken a number of International business leadership roles at both GE Capital and CIT Group over the last 16 years with the prior 15 years spent within the consumer finance industry. He has overseen the successful transition from CIT Vendor Finance UK to PEAC earlier this year. Alongside his work at PEAC, Green takes an active role in the leasing industry as a director of the Leasing Foundation.

Sally Butt, partner, Addleshaw Goddard

Butt leads financial services at Addleshaw Goddard and is also the head of finance disputes and the litigation team across Leeds and Manchester. She specialises in all aspects of banking and finance litigation and dispute resolution but with particular expertise in asset finance litigation. She sits on the Litigation Forum of the Finance and Leasing Association.

Sam Geneen, chairman, Star Asset Finance

Geneen is chairman of Star Asset Finance. He was previously managing director of Five Arrows Leasing Group since its inception in 1988 and before that he was managing director at United Financial Services for six years. Star Asset Finance is a platform set up by private equity group Star Capital Partners for its asset finance acquisitions, which include Kennet Equipment Leasing and First Capital Finance.

Simon Goldie, head of asset finance, FLA

Goldie was appointed head of asset finance at the FLA in May 2014. He has previously worked at the Chartered Institute of Taxation as head of external relations as well as the Association of Consultancy and Engineering as director of policy and external affairs. Outside the public policy arena, he has worked as head of public relations in the UK for computer assisted research provider Lexis Nexis.

Steve Swift, managing director, Kennet Equipment Leasing

Swift founded Kennet in 1991, brokering £495,000 worth of business in its first year. Fast-forward 25 years and Kennet will write over £55m this year, having access to over 25 banks and funders. Swift had an important role in Kennet securing £50m worth of funding from the European Investment Fund to grow its own book. In June, he was appointed group chief executive officer of Star Asset Finance, with responsibility for steering not only Kennet Equipment Leasing but Ignition Credit, and First Capital Finance.

Stuart Hall, Cisco Capital lead, Cisco UK and Ireland

Hall is responsible for managing the team of the captive finance arm of technology provider Cisco in the UK and Ireland. According to his LinkedIn, he joined Cisco Capital in 2004 and held a number of managerial roles before being appointed to his current role. In the past, that he was worked for Heller Financial.

Tarun Mistry, partner, head of Financial Services Corporate Finance, Grant Thornton UK LLP

This is the fourth time Mistry has made it to the top 50 list as one of the leading advisers in this field. Mistry joined Grant Thornton in 2004, having completed his accountancy training and then moving into industry where he worked within the equipment leasing and consumer finance industries for a number of players as finance director. Mistry has advised a number of leasing businesses on mergers and acquisitions in recent years, including Paragon Bank's acquisition of the Five Arrows Group, the sale of Anglo Scottish to Maxxia and the sale of Bradgate Finance to 1PM.

Tim Porter, managing director, Lex Autolease

Porter was appointed as managing director of Lex Autolease, the fleet arm of Lloyds Bank, in 2013. Under his management, the company continued its growth trajectory and remained the UK's leading fleet lessor. Lex Autolease's current fleet size is exceeding 317,000 vehicles. Prior to joining Lex, Tim was managing director of the Small & Medium Enterprise (SME) Banking Teams in Lloyds Bank.

Vahid Daemi, chief executive officer, LeasePlan

Daemi has over 20 years of LeasePlan experience. He started as finance director in the UK in 1993, and after a number of promotions he became chief executive officer and chairman of the managing board of LeasePlan Corporation in 2016. After the sale of LeasePlan to a consortium of investors, Daemi and the rest of the senior executives remained in their positions, illustrating the trust new owners show to the current leadership of the organisation. Daemi is also vice chairman of the board of Leaseurope.

Vineesh Madaan, managing director, Bluestone Leasing

Madaan has been working at UK leasing broker Bluestone Leasing for nearly two decades. Initially employed as the company's accountant, he held a number of roles before being appointed managing director in 2005. Under his management, the company has recorded a significant increase in business, establishing strong relations with various lenders. Bluestone Leasing won the 'Broker of the Year' and 'Product & Service Innovation of the Year' awards at Leasing Life's 2015 awards.

Wolfgang Grenke, chairman of the board of directors, chief executive officer, Grenke Leasing

Grenke has been in the European leasing industry for decades, having founded German independent lessor Grenke Leasing in 1978. Since then, he led the company in its international expansion - which now extends beyond European borders - and portfolio development. In 2009, Grenke acquired the Hamburger Privatbank Hesse Newman & Co. - a private Bank since 1777 - and continues to operate it as Grenke Bank, with Wolfgang Grenke becoming a member of the supervisory board of the bank. Grenke Leasing reported a 20.1% year-on-year growth in new business volume, which amounted to €1.36bn (£1bn) in 2015.