Hitachi Capital UK has appointed a chief operating officer, seconding chief executive Robert Gordon, to lead digital investment in its British and European lending business.

Jonathan Biggin brings to the role two decades’ worth of experience in operations oversight. He was development director at American Express before moving on to Barclays Bank, where he led technological development in retail and business banking.

He comes to Hitachi Capital from almost five years as chief operating officer at credit card provider MBNA, acquired by Lloyds from Bank of America in 2016.

Biggin will be tasked with operational efficiency across the IT, human resources and group change departments.

He will also oversee integration of new technology and data solutions across the business.

Chief executive Gordon said: “After nearly a decade of rapid growth, Hitachi Capital is still hungry to evolve as a business. The appointment is testament to our quest for continuous improvement in the customer experience and the flexibility of product mix which we offer our customers.

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Biggin said: “Hitachi Capital UK has a strong reputation as a forward-thinking finance provider and, as the recent financial results have shown, we are a top performer in the industry.

“Using technology to solve problems and create opportunities is something that I find very exciting and I see not only opportunities to continue to build on the strong foundations of the existing business, but also create new channels and propositions for customers.”

It it the second senior management hire for Hitachi Capital UK this year, following the appointment of John Shiels as chief risk officer in February.

Hitachi Capital UK has traditionally been the Japanese corporation’s main springboard for European lending business, but that role is now threatened by the Brexit process, with negotiations seemingly headed towards a “no-deal” on cross-border financial services.

The UK company is safeguarding its future on the continent by creating an Amsterdam-based vendor finance subsidiary. While the global Hitachi Capital group already includes other EU businesses – namely Hitachi Capital Mobility Solutions in the Netherlands and Hitachi Capital Polska – those companies are direct subsidiaries of parent Hitachi Capital Corporation, meaning that the UK entity risked a loss of access to European business had it not created its own subsidiary.

“[Brexit is] bringing with it uncertainty over its future trading relationships,” Hitachi Capital UK chief executive Robert Gordon said when the creation of the subsidiary was announced. “Our branch in the Netherlands provides us with a base for further expansion into Europe.”