UPDATED: UKTI chooses directors for restructuring programme

The government department which has been promoting the UK's flourishing FinTech scene is seeking cost savings of £42m over four years.

UK Trade & Investment has appointed two new senior figures to spearhead a £42m cost-cutting and restructuring programme at the organisation which promotes British businesses in international markets.

 The Trade understands that a new “Global Transformation Team” is being established which will be headed up by former Cabinet Office director Michelle Thorp who will also join the UKTI’s executive committee.

Meanwhile cost-cutting expert Matt James has joined as managing director, Commercial. He was also previously at the Cabinet Office, working between 2010 and 2013 as commercial director responsible for the coalition government’s cost-cutting programme across Whitehall.

The two new appointments to the UKTI’s executive committee will join the senior directorate which meets monthly and is responsible for all principal decisions in UKTI.

The news comes just two months after UKTI confirmed that its budget is to be cut from £299m in 2015/16 to £277m in 2019/20.

In November, the Treasury said it was refocusing UKTI to ensure it was a “world class export and investment promotion agency.”

The two new directors have significant experience in change management. Over the past two and half years James has worked advising government on commercial negotiations as a member of the Crown Commercial Service Board.

Thorp was previously transformation director for the Cabinet Office but has more recently worked as programme director for NHS England.

In September, The Trade reported on the UKTI project to promote financial technology (FinTech) innovation in asset management, trading and banking.

A spokesperson for UKTI said: “Matt joins from Cabinet Office where he was director of Commercial Advice; and comes with a strong track record of commercial management.

“He will take responsibility for UKTI’s Central Commercial Unit. Michelle Thorp previously worked with NHS England as transformation director. Michelle will manage the next stage of UKTI’s development into a more efficient and effective organisation delivering a step change in UK export performance.”