Company overview

CurrencyFair was the world’s first online peer-to-peer foreign exchange marketplace that allows individuals and businesses to save substantial sums of money when sending money abroad.

Frustrated by the opaque world of hidden fees and uncompetitive exchange rates, the business was founded by 3 partners in 2009 to create a transparent and innovative alternative to banks and other specialist operators. Today, more than £3.4bn has been transferred though the platform saving customers over £126m in fees. 

Headquartered in Dublin, CurrencyFair employs over 100 people. Revenues have increased rapidly and venture capital investment has been successfully raised from amongst others Octopus Ventures, Frontline Ventures and Draper Esprit.

The brief

Directorbank was approached by Brett Meyers, CEO and Co-Founder of CurrencyFair, to source a high profile Non-Executive Chairman to augment the Board and drive ongoing expansion and growth, ultimately steering the business towards a successful exit or IPO in 3 to 4 years time.

The ideal candidate needed to be a proven Chairman or CEO with experience from a high growth, innovative consumer internet business. A track record of working with multiple shareholders and stakeholders was essential as was previous involvement with an exit process. European exposure was a necessity, whilst wider geographical experience was advantageous.

The process

We went through a comprehensive search process drawing on our sector and functional expertise to identify high quality candidates for the position. Combining suitable targets from Directorbank’s network of entrepreneurial Chair and CEO candidates with expert recommendations and a thorough market mapping exercise encompassing 60 high growth online consumer businesses, we put forward eight impressive individuals. Five candidates were interviewed by the CurrencyFair team, with three candidates reaching second interview stage. Richard Rose was successfully appointed to the position.

The result

Richard is an exceptional and innovative Chairman whose track record of delivering substantial performance has earned him the respect and trust of institutional shareholders and private equity firms. He has excellent credentials in focusing Boards on achievable, stretch strategies that deliver business transformation.

Richard currently holds chairmanships at Anpario Group plc, Blue Inc, Watchstone Group plc and Crawshaw Group plc, a £40m t/o retail meat business. At the latter, he drove transformation from an unsophisticated, privately-owned company to one which met plc standards in 9 months. In 2008 he floated the business on AIM and within 11 months the original £100k equity had increased to £18m.

Until July of this year, Richard was Non-Executive Chairman at AO World plc, the £500m t/o online retail giant specialising in household appliances. During his tenure, EBITDA rose from £200k pa to over £15m despite tough market conditions. In 2004, Richard led an IPO on the London main market for a value of £1.2bn – the offer was 11 times oversubscribed.

Richard’s most notable executive roles include the CEO (and latterly Chairman) of Whittard of Chelsea plc. Whilst here, he achieved a successful turnaround of the business, replacing losses of £3m with profit of £1m within 6 months, rising to £3.3m over 2 years. He delivered substantial investor value with shares increasing 10 fold and successfully sold the business to Baugur in 2006.