Dame Julia Unwin Appointed as New Chair for Global Open Finance Centre of Excellence

Julia Unwin

Dame Julia Unwin is joining Global Open Finance Centre of Excellence (GOFCoE) as their inaugural Chair on 13 September 2021. This marks an important step in the journey for GOFCoE as they head towards incorporating as a stand-alone not-for-profit organisation later this year.

Dame Julia is an excellent fit for GOFCoE with huge experience of working across multiple sectors during her social campaigning career, including as a charity commissioner. She was Chief Executive of the Joseph Rowntree Foundation and the Joseph Rowntree Housing Trust for 10 years before stepping down at the end of 2016.

Her professional leadership experience in the fields of housing, social care, and corporate social responsibility includes senior-level roles at the Housing Corporation, Charity Commission, and the Food Standards Agency. Most recently, she was appointed as the Chair of the Governing Body for York St John University in April 2020. She has extensive experience as a well-known and respected senior strategic leader, as a non-executive director for Mears Group plc and Yorkshire Water, as well as a previous role at the Financial Reporting Council, and recently chaired a major inquiry into the future of civil society in England. A life-long campaigner for social justice, she was made a Dame in December 2019 for services to civil society.

Commenting on her new role, Dame Julia said:

“To work with an organisation that has such a powerful social purpose was too good to miss. I always look for opportunities where I can truly make a difference, and I can’t wait to start working with the team to make things happen. I’m already working with Kevin Collins to recruit his successor as he returns to his role as Assistant Principal at the University of Edinburgh and looks forward to meeting some incredible candidates to become our new CEO.”

“Our purpose is to improve people’s lives by safely unlocking the potential of financial data” said Kevin Collins, interim CEO of GOFCoE. “Having someone like Dame Julia join us with her mix of leading the social agenda, coupled with commercial experience, is a great fit. We’re on an exciting journey to become an independent not-for-profit organisation, and the timing is perfect to have Dame Julia join us to help shape the road ahead and build the new board, starting with a new CEO.”

“Dame Julia brings an extraordinary portfolio of experience to this role. Her passion and commitment to initiatives that have successfully delivered true social impact are well demonstrated, and sit in alignment with the vision for GOFCoE to safely enable financial data for better consumer outcomes” said Richard Prior, CEO of FDATA. “GOFCoE has reached a stage-gate in its evolution toward becoming an independent entity. Having Dame Julia in place to contribute at this exciting and critical juncture is invaluable for the pathway forward”.

Nicola Anderson, CEO of FinTech Scotland added “This is a great appointment for GOFCoE, and Dame Julia adds tremendous experience that will be a valuable addition to the team at this important point in GOFCoE’s journey. I look forward to welcoming Dame Julia, to her leadership and working with her to continue GOFCoE’s mission, including helping to accelerate innovation within the Fintech sector and delivering real change to help improve people’s lives.”