Gavin Slater takes Nimble new gig

James Riley
Editorial Director

Former Digital Transformation Agency chief Gavin Slater has joined established FinTech startup Nimble Australia as CEO with plans broaden the company’s product ranges and customer base, and to apply for a digital banking licence.

Mr Slater brings the experience of a long career in banking to the role. Prior to joining the DTA in May last year, he had spent 17 years at the National Australia Bank, where he finished as a Group Executive running the Personal Banking business.

Mr Slater brings a straight bat to Nimble, which has been a FinTech fore-runner in Australia since it was founded by Sean Teahan and Greg Ellis in 2007 in Queensland. The company was originally known as Cash Doctors Australia.

Gavin Slater: Taken a new CEO role at fintech startup Nimble

Nimble was early to the FinTech game and has grown as an unlisted public company. It produced revenue of $56 million and a $4 million profit in the 2017 financial year. It is thought to be worth about $100 million.

Mr Slater left public service in mid-June after 15 months. The new role role ultimately delivers him back into the private sector, back into the finance community, and back into a Melbourne office. Z primary reason he left the DTA was that it was difficult to be effective in the job while commuting to Canberra.

He caused a stir in public service circles in March by taking a seven week leave of absence to attend a Harvard University short course in the middle of Budget preparations for May.

The Harvard enrollment had been a hang-over entitlement from his NAB employment, and the government had agreed to give him the time off when he was first employed at the DTA.

Mr Slater says it is too early to talk specifically about his plans for the new role with Nimble. But he is clearly relishing the prospect of growing a well-established FinTech.

He told there was ample opportunity to broaden the Nimble product and customer base by leveraging its leading platform and analytics capability. And he fully intends to apply for a digital banking licence.

Nimble is a digital platform company that makes short-term cash loans of up to $5,000, using sophisticated data analytics to conduct online risk assessments. The company competes with physical world payday lenders like cash converters.

The company has not been without controversy. In 2016, the corporate regulator directed Nimble to repay more than $1.5 million in loans to 7,000 customers over concerns that it had failed to meet responsible lending obligations.

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