Blockchain startup appoints former BCG Partner as new CEO

12 November 2018

British blockchain firm Setl has brought a Senior Partner from the Boston Consulting Group on board as its new Chief Executive Officer. Philippe Morel will now lead the London-based company as it looks to settle itself once more, following a turbulent few months in which two of its co-founders have exited the top of the group.  

The technology underpinning the Bitcoin and cryptocurrency boom, blockchain provides a secure, open, and anonymous space for transactions to take place. It is most simply described as a decentralised software mechanism that permits a master ledger of digital currency transactions to take root. Blockchain solutions are already being deployed across a global marketplace in the grip of dramatic change. By pursuing excellence in the Bitcoin sphere, consultancies are literally — and metaphorically — following the money.

While the technology has branched out drastically across multiple industries, with its secure shared ledger systems making it possible to secure all manner of supply chains and transactions, it is still most popular among the financial services sector. Tapping into this in 2015, Setl was launched at a time when financial services firms were beginning to explore the potential of blockchain, the technology that underpins trading of digital currencies. Setl aims to deploy a multi-asset, multi-currency institutional payment and settlements infrastructure based on blockchain, and has claimed its blockchain is 1,000 times faster than that of Bitcoin.

Blockchain Startup appoints former BCG Partner new CEO

The firm enjoyed early success, and by February 2018, Citigroup and the Crédit Agricole had joined Computershare, S2iEM and Deloitte as Setl’s existing shareholders. However, the firm was soon to endure a troubled spell in its early years. By June, the company had parted ways with co-founder Francois Barthelemy, who left following a dispute with fellow co-founder Peter Randall, over the future direction of the company. As the year draws to a close, and Setl looks to draw a line under the incident and move forward, City trading veteran Randall has decided to step down from his current position at the firm, moving to the position of President.

This role will see Randall have specific responsibilities for international business, marketing and investor relations. Randall is best known for his work as the former CEO of equities venue Chi-X Europe; now part of Cboe Global Markets. Having played a significant role in modernising the way shares trade while at Chi-X, he said at the time of Setl’s launch his new firm could similarly revolutionise the way trades are settled.

As a result of this reshuffle, the company was presented with the task of finding a new CEO to take the company forward in the new year. In a statement to the press, Setl has now confirmed that the role will be taken on by Philippe Morel, a former Senior Partner of the Boston Consulting Group (BCG). Morel most recently led BCG's principal investors and private equity practice in Europe. During his 26-year stay with the global strategy consulting giant, Morel also fulfilled the roles of Global Head of Capital Markets and Managing Director.

Prior to his extensive period with BCG, Morel previously worked for Societe Generale and Goldman Sachs in London. Since 2011, he has been Chairman of the Board for Expand Research, a role which he will retain alongside his new duties at Setl.

Commenting on his appointment, Morel said Setl had already seen “significant interest” in its blockchain-powered central securities depository OpenCSD. He added that the group is developing other products, including Iznes, a blockchain record-keeping platform for fund managers, which “is likely to become the largest global blockchain by both value and volume as more managers migrate to it.”

Former Barclays Chair Sir David Walker, who now performs the same role at Setl, said of Morel, "[He] brings a wealth of experience in the capital market, financial, and regulatory spheres and we are very pleased to have attracted such an impressive talent."


Grant Thornton UK appoints five new Partners

23 April 2019

Sergio Cardoso, Matt Maltz, Jessica Patel, Marc Roberts and Nick Warner have been appointed as partners at Grant Thornton. With the company undergoing a year of transition under new leadership, the new members will help consolidate the firm’s offering as it looks to reach new levels of growth in 2019.

2019 sees Grant Thornton’s UK wing undergoing a process of transformation. As the group looks to ensure its teams “provide the right level of support for profitable growth” and create an environment that “makes it easier for our people to do great work”, the firm has announced a succession of senior appointments across its regional divisions.

In February, this saw Chris Petts and James Bulloss named Partner and Director in the North East and Yorkshire respectively. Now, the UK’s sixth-largest auditing and consulting firm has confirmed the installation of a further five Partners across its UK team.

Sergio Cardoso is a long-standing Grant Thornton employee, having joined from Daniel Auerbach & Company – where he was an Accountant – in 2005. Cardoso rose steadily through the ranks since then, taking up his most recent role as Audit and Assurance Director in 2015. In that role, he focused on dynamic, fast-growing and entrepreneurial private companies, as well as multinational and AIM-listed groups. He now takes up the position of Partner in Grant Thornton’s audit practice.

Grant Thornton UK appoints five new Partners

Nick Warner has been appointed as a partner in Grant Thornton’s VAT team based in London. Bringing more than 20 years of experience in tax to the role, Warner joins the firm from Moore Stephens, where he most recently was VAT Partner, during a five-year stay with the firm. Prior to that, Warner was a Partner in VAT at BDO and PKF UK. He also spent five years at HMRC as a Higher Executive Officer.

Matt Maltz is the first of three Partner appointments in Grant Thornton’s real estate tax division. A former EY Partner in real estate tax, Maltz spent 17 years with the Big Four firm. In his new position with Grant Thornton, he will tackle similar client areas, as a Partner in real estate tax.

Jessica Patel has also been promoted as a Partner in the firm’s real estate tax practice, having been with the firm for more than 15 years. Patel joined Grant Thornton as a trainee in 2003. She is a licensed member of both the Association of Tax Technicians and the Chartered Institute of Taxation. As a Partner, Patel will advise a wide variety of clients ranging from UK property investors and developers to overseas investors and property funds.

Marc Roberts is another Big Four alumnus to join Grant Thornton as a Partner. Roberts exited EY to take up his new position, having been an Associate Partner and real estate advisory lead at the company. With more than 25 years of experience in the financial services sector, Roberts also formerly held a Directorship and headed the corporate finance real estate advisory team at fellow Big Four firm PwC.