UK/EU   |   3rd May 2022

Renaissance Leadership - CTO Round-up

Over the last two years of disruption and economic uncertainty, one thing has remained constant for businesses throughout the pandemic – the importance of technology and in turn strong technology leadership.

During this period Renaissance has partnered with companies looking to establish digital presence to address changing market dynamics, companies at mid stage maturity looking to scale at pace, and finally companies just starting out on the exciting growth journey. These include our continued success working with Cazoo, adding Group IT Director to the CTO leadership team to address many of the IT challenges that arise through rapid growth and international expansion. They also include strengthening the engineering leadership team at TomTom as it looks to further establish itself as the leading mobility services provider globally. We have also enjoyed partnering with earlier stage companies such as Ultraleap (Series D led by Tencent), Finematter (backed by Heartcore) and Railsbank.

We are regularly asked for our views on diversity in tech leadership and whilst the selected appointments below show our ability to attract and engage with high calibre engineering leadership talent, it also demonstrates our track record in sourcing from a diverse pool of candidates.

Listed below are some of the hires we have made at either CTO or VP Engineering level during this period. We all recognise the challenges involved in hiring top talent in engineering leadership, especially in today’s market where demand significantly outweighs supply. Therefore it is all the more important to partner with a search firm that can demonstrate a true functional specialism in the technology leadership space. Thanks to all the great investors and clients who have backed us through this period and we look forward to continued success as we explore what the new business landscape looks like post pandemic.

 



 
BRISTOL

Rowena Innocent

SVP Engineering

With a clear vision to become the most significant user interface company, Ultraleap is looking to scale its world-leading hand tracking and mid-air haptics technologies for a rapidly growing customer base. In the newly created role of SVP Engineering, Rowena Innocent is tasked with bringing a scalable and world class approach to delivering software and solutions. Rowena brings a whole host of relevant experience to Ultraleap, having previously managed a team of 300 engineers across the UK, EU, USA and Asia. Within her 30 years of experience at Spectris, Malvern Panalytical and General Electric, her teams have spanned early research through to product delivery and after sales support across a broad range of disciplines, including mechanical, electrical, software and machine learning.

For more information, please visit www.ultraleap.com

 


 

  

 
LONDON

Suavek Zajac

CTO

Railsbank is a pioneer and innovator in the global Banking as a Platform (Baap) sector, enabling any business or brand to be the future of consumer and SME finance. Currently, Railsbank has customers in the UK, Europe, SE Asia and the US, making it the only true global BaaP player in the market today. As CTO of Railsbank, Suavek will play a critical role, working closely alongside CPO and CCO to lead the technology organisation on the journey to unicorn status. Suavek is an accomplished technology leader with a passion for creating a product engineering approach that delivers value for customer. Suavek previously led a team of 700 as Technical Director of Grand Parade at William Hill.

For more information, please visit www.railsbank.com

 


 

 
MADRID

Mike Harrell

VP Engineering

 

 
AMSTERDAM

Yu Guo

Engineering Director


TomTom is the leading independent location technology specialist, shaping mobility with highly accurate maps, navigation software, real-time traffic information and services. To achieve their vision of a safer world, free of congestion and emissions, TomTom creates innovative technologies that keep the world moving. Renaissance has continued its successful hiring track record with TomTom through the addition of Mike Harrell to the Engineering leadership team. Mike reports directly into CTO Eric Bowman and previously ran a major engineering hub for Amazon in Europe.

In addition we were able to attract one of the leading lights in autonomous vehicle software and machine learning from the West Coast with the appointment of Yu Guo. Her experience at Airbnb and Uber will bring subject matter expertise and ML depth to the engineering and data teams at TomTom as they continue to revolutionise the mobility services landscape.

For more information, please visit www.tomtom.com

 


 

 
LONDON

Yuval Elshtein

CTO

SpaceNK is recognised as a business that combines outstanding customer experience with an unparalleled range of luxury health and beauty products. As the business sought to expand into new international markets, CEO Andy Lightfoot recognised the need to strengthen his leadership team through the appointment of a CTO to lead all things digital. With a career that comprises Amazon, Argos and Holland & Barrett, Yuval Elshtein was appointed to lead technology growth and innovation whilst ensuring SpaceNK continues to deliver industry leading levels of customer experience.

For more information, please visit www.spacenk.com

 


 

 
LONDON

John Thompson

Group IT Director

John was hired by Jonathan Howell, CTO at Cazoo, at a time when the business was about to float on the New York Stock Exchange. The rapid growth of Cazoo into new international markets triggered the need to hire a Group IT Director to manage the IT that supports people (2000+) and operations in this highly customer-centric business. John joined Cazoo from Photobox, where his recent experiences in leading largescale business expansion provided a really clear alignment with the growth story at Cazoo.

For more information, please visit www.cazoo.co.uk

 


 

 
LONDON

Dave Marsland

CTO

Finematter is a fashion-tech start-up on a mission to digitalize the €300bn+ jewellery market, one of the last remaining analogue industries in the global retail landscape. Backed by Heartcore, they are building a modular end-to-end technology platform to connect makers with buyers all across the globe and change the way the market operates today. Dave Marsland was appointed as the first full-time CTO at Finematter, reporting into CEO and Co-Founder Caroline Chalmer. His background in rapid growth technology led businesses such as Just Eat and Paddle meant that he immediately hit the ground running in scaling the engineering team at a key growth stage for the business.

For more information, please visit www.finematter.com

 


 

 
LONDON

Mufti Monim

CTO

PCI Pal is an AIM listed SaaS and secure payments platform that sets the standards for PCI compliant solutions within retail, government, financial services and telecoms industries in particular. As the business reaches into new international markets, CEO James Barham recognised the need to hire a high impact CTO to align product and technology. With a background in international payments and retail finance Mufti Monim met all the criteria needed as CTO to drive innovation in product development at PCI Pal.

For more information, please visit www.pcipal.com

 


About Renaissance

Renaissance is a leading Executive Search and Leadership firm based in London and Silicon Valley, specialising in the Digital and Enterprise Technology sectors.

For nearly 20 years we have been building Board and Leadership teams for some of the most exciting start-ups and fast growth companies, mostly VC or Private Equity backed. We also work with leading corporate organisations in the technology sector, and those undergoing rapid technology or digital transformation.

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