Catherine Lewis La Torre has been appointed Interim CEO of the Government-owned British Business Bank and will take up the role from 1 September. Catherine currently holds the position of CEO of the Bank’s two commercial subsidiaries, British Patient Capital and British Business Investments.
In October 2019, Keith Morgan CBE announced that he would be standing down from the role of Chief Executive of the British Business Bank by the end of 2020, after eight years at the helm of the UK’s economic development bank.
Keith was appointed in January 2013 to lead the design and establishment of the Bank and was made Chief Executive in December 2013. Since its inception, the Bank has grown significantly under Keith’s leadership and at the end of 2019 it supported more than 94,000 businesses with over £7.7bn of loans or investments through its various programmes.
Catherine Lewis La Torre has built a career in venture capital and private equity fund management. She joined the British Business Bank in 2016 from Cardano Risk Management, where she was Head of Private Equity, responsible for managing a global portfolio of private capital fund investments with over £1bn of commitments. Prior to this she was a Partner with secondaries specialist, Fondinvest Capital, in Paris having previously been one of the founding partners of fund-of-funds manager, Proventure which focused on venture and growth capital investing in Europe.
Since 23 March, the British Business Bank has launched four Coronavirus business loan schemes, so far delivering almost £35bn of additional finance to over 830,000 extra businesses. During this 11-week period the Bank has grown the amount of finance it supports to businesses across the UK by a factor of six and increased the number of businesses it is supporting by more than ten times.
This Interim CEO appointment allows government to map out the next phase of the Bank’s development before commencing the search for a permanent successor. Keith Morgan will work with Catherine Lewis La Torre through the Autumn to ensure an orderly transition.
British Business Bank Chair, Lord Smith, paid tribute to Keith’s leadership of the institution: “Keith has been an outstanding leader of the British Business Bank, building the business from scratch to create an organisation with considerable scale, reach and impact on businesses across the country. Under his leadership, the Bank has supported start-ups and growing companies in every region and nation of the UK and has responded at speed to build a series of large scale loan programmes to help UK businesses get through the Coronavirus emergency.”
Lord Smith welcomed Catherine Lewis La Torre’s appointment as Interim CEO: “Catherine is a highly respected industry leader, with more than 30 years’ investment management experience and a strong track record of success. She has successfully led the Bank’s commercial subsidiaries, British Patient Capital and British Business Investments and has made a considerable contribution to the Bank since she joined in 2016. I am delighted that she has agreed to take on the role of Interim CEO and look forward to working with her as we support the UK’s economic recovery.”