Atom Bank, the UK-based digital financial services start-up, has hired a chief innovation officer and a deputy director from the North East Local Enterprise Partnership.
The two new hires are Edward Twiddy, director of the North East Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), who will join as chief innovation officer and LEP deputy director Sophie Haagensen, in an unspecified role.
Working together with Anthony Thomson, founder and the first chairman of Metro Bank and Mark Mullen, former CEO of first direct, to launch a digital-first alternative to the established banks, Twiddy will be the driving force behind innovation and operations.
Atom proposes to apply to the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) and the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to be authorised and regulated to carry on banking business including by offering current and savings accounts and loans.
Anthony Thomson, chairman of Atom says of the new hires: "As the UK's first truly digital bank, innovation will be at the heart of everything we do. We believe Edward will be the perfect person to drive this with his years of experience and tremendous range of skills and expertise. He has done a brilliant job in supporting northern businesses and I know that he will continue to champion local businesses in his new role at Atom.
"Sophie has also been very active in the North East as deputy director and she brings additional complementary skills to the Atom team."
Over the course of eleven years in central government Twiddy held a senior post in the Prime Minister's Delivery Unit and was in Ruth Kelly's private office whilst she was the Financial Secretary. From spring 2003, he was seconded to the Foreign and Commonwealth office for 18 months to lead economic and banking reform in the cross-departmental Iraq Policy Unit during which he was involved in the granting of independence to the Central Bank and the introduction of a new Iraqi currency. He was also a member of the resolution team that stabilised Northern Rock and some of the early victims of the financial crisis
Haagensen joined the LEP from the Department for Work and Pensions, where she led a strategy team responsible for providing advice to government ministers on the viability of new policy proposals. She also advised on the digitalisation of services in the North East and managed a major organisational restructure to deliver digital transformation.