Financial services Executive Director, Thomas Smith, has joined gigCMO’s team of fractional CMOs, bringing his expertise in bottom line growth delivery and retail banking to clients on an interim basis.
With nearly 30 years’ experience in retail banking and 20 years at their helm, including time developing his career in the GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council), Tom has an impressive background at the upper echelons of financial services.
His track record in consistent bottom line growth delivery spans global and multicultural contexts with numerous organisations across Europe and the Middle East, and across multiple regulatory jurisdictions. For example, at Allied Irish Banks (AIB), he led the transformation of their personal lending proposition, and over 18 months increased their lending from €5 million per week to €14 million per week with any dilution in margins or asset quality.
A career in financial services from Ireland to the Middle East
Having started his career in Ireland, he has spent the last 10 years leading and participating in the transformation of four retail franchises in the Middle East and Ireland. He has worked with McKinsey and Co, Accenture and BCG, to transition these franchises from the traditional bricks and mortar banking models to the more efficient cost-to-serve ‘clicks and mortar’ models. He also has practical experience leveraging technology to enable outstanding customer care and experience.
Between 2002 and 2014, he developed his retail banking career in the GCC, holding Executive Banking roles with Regional Banking Groups in Kuwait, Bahrain and Qatar, in addition to the UAE. From 2009 to 2014, he led the retail and private banking activities for the United Arab Bank (UAB), which at the time was a key subsidiary within the Commercial Bank of Qatar Group and part of the four-bank alliance comprising Commercial Bank of Qatar, National Bank of Oman and Bank Turkey.
Transformation and bottom line growth delivery in the GCC
Working through the turbulence in the property and banking markets in the UAE, he transformed and overhauled the retail franchise over five years. The approach included a customer-centric strategy that focused exclusively on the mass affluent and affluent segments with conventional and Islamic offerings supported by an award-winning loyalty program and an aggressive distribution strategy.
By the time he left, the UAB had gone from a 51st to 14th ranking on balance sheet size. By 2014 retail accounted for 30% of UAB’s balance sheet; it was less than 10% in 2009. As a result, the UAB received the Best UAE Bank award from the Financial Times Banker Magazine in 2012 and the Best Retail Bank in the Middle East award from Banker magazine in 2013.
He achieved these results by establishing a strong leadership position in the mortgage sector, as well as driving client relationships and loyalty through ground-breaking partnerships with the likes of FIFA. For example, the UAB’s World Cup deposit mobilisation campaign raised in excess of $250 million within the first six months six months of 2013. Building on the football theme, Tom negotiated the UAB’s partnership with FC Barcelona, one of the most recognised global brands and the first Bank outside of Spain to do so.
Personal growth in an evolving industry
For the last 12 months, he has taken a position as GM of Aptus Broadband in Ireland, to further develop his operational, sales and marketing skills in the telecommunications sector, leaving him ideally placed to exploit the opportunities available in the loyalty marketplace today.
Having experienced the seismic change in the financial sector from bricks and mortar to clicks and mortar, he understands the practical roadmaps needed to apply strategic thinking. Central to that understanding is a talent for uniting and inspiring large teams to work towards common goals, knowing that the key to a successful growth or change strategy is the belief and willingness of the team.
Furthermore, Tom’s personal experience in having to up-skill and evolve with a changing industry makes him a sympathetic and valuable support for business leaders looking to keep their own skills and understanding of their industry relevant. Appreciating how that can be daunting, his own experiences means he is able to offer discreet and empathetic industry specific support to business leaders, to in turn add value to their own careers as well as tie in with strategic values that benefits the wider team and organisation.
Mark Magnacca, Managing Director of gigCMO said: “gigCMO is all about making it easier and more cost effective for businesses to access an outside opinion but with specialist industry knowledge, to help their businesses grow, evolve and deliver on campaigns and targets. Tom’s financial services experience, his time in the GCC and the personal journey he has gone through developing his own skills as he has lived through the enormous change in the financial sector is exactly the kind of empathy and understanding that both businesses and their leadership can benefit from, but available on a cost effective and expedient basis.”
Tom said: “My career has always been about delivering on bottom line growth, and creating pathways for businesses to create and deliver strategies by getting the whole organisation working towards a common goal. I am thrilled by the prospect of taking something that people say is impossible, ripping it up and asking ‘is that all you want?’. The ability to bring my personal expertise and industry knowledge, supported by different industry perspectives of the team at gigCMO, to a client, and making it easy for them to get that extraordinary level of Executive support is an exciting opportunity to deliver something unique.”