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About us

Meet the team

Leadership

Walter Gontarek Channel Capital Advisors
Walter Gontarek

CEO & Chairman

Leadership

Walter Gontarek is our CEO and Chairman. As such, he sets the firm’s strategy, articulates its culture, and manages key stakeholder relationships.

He previously served as Managing Director/Global Head of Credit Products at the Royal Bank of Canada and held senior executive roles in capital markets and consumer/SME banking in the US, Canada and Europe.

Walt holds non-executive board roles at the UK regulated arms of Catalina Re-insurance and Wiserfunding Ltd. He holds an MBA from NYU Stern School of Business and a Doctorate (Finance) from Cranfield University. He also holds certificates from Carnegie Mellon University (Cyber Risk Board Oversight) and Stanford University (Board Directors College).

Walt is a Visiting Fellow/Lecturer for Sustainable Finance/Financial Markets at Cranfield University and SciencesPo Paris and a Professor (Honorary) for fintech at the University of Aberdeen, Scotland.

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Deborah Hutchinson Channel Capital Advisors
Deborah Hutchinson

CFO & Head of Strategy

Leadership

Deborah is a founding partner of Channel. She currently serves as CFO and Head of Strategy.

Before joining Channel in 2006, Deborah worked at Rabobank as Global Business Manager for all its capital markets activities, overseeing budgeting, planning, and other administrative functions. She previously worked at Westpac as Divisional Controller and EBRD as Principal Manager of its initial financial control policies. Deborah holds a BSc from the London School of Economics and is a chartered accountant.

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Ian Watson Channel Capital Advisors
Ian Watson

COO

Leadership

As Chief Operating Officer, Ian joined Channel from his position of Managing Director at Corporate Linx, a Supply Chain Finance technology provider based in France and the UK.  He has  spent most of his career in invoice finance and asset-based lending, both here in the UK and overseas.

During his 9 years with Bibby Financial Services, he spent 6 years based in Australia & Singapore as CEO for Asia Pacific followed by 3 years in Atlanta as CEO of BFS North America.

His earlier career experience includes executive positions with General Motors Acceptance Corporation (GMAC) in the UK and prior to that International Factors, a subsidiary of Lloyds Bank.

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Paul Wilson Channel Capital Advisors
Paul Wilson

CIO – Channel Funds

Leadership

Paul Wilson has over 22 years’ experience of investing in credit and structured finance markets globally. He was previously a senior portfolio manager at BlueMountain Capital Management, investing in structured finance and other credit products.

Prior to this he was managing director and global head of structured credit markets at Credit Agricole. Before this he was head of credit correlation trading at Citibank for Europe. He began his career trading credit products at Morgan Stanley where he spent 7 years and was an Executive Director.

He holds an MPhys in Mathematical Physics and an MSc in Financial Mathematics from the University of Edinburgh. Paul sits on the firm’s executive committee, risk committee and managing partners committee.

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Kristian Wilson Channel Capital Advisors
Kristian Wilson

CTO

Leadership

Kristian Wilson is Chief Technology Officer (CTO) at Channel. In this role, he is responsible for driving the company’s technology and embedded finance vision.

Kristian joined Channel from Auto Integrate, the market leading maintenance authorization platform in North America, where he successfully migrated the platform to the cloud. Prior to that, he has delivered scalable technology platforms in businesses ranging in size from start-up to SME, across a variety of industries, including protecting millions of children online with Future Digital, providing the underbanked with access to competitive finance and high quality rental property with Richmond Group, and helping corporations understand their VOIP telephony with Tiger Communications.

Kristian holds an MCOMP in Computer Science from Loughborough University (1st Class).

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Board

Governance

Walter Gontarek Channel Capital Advisors
Walter Gontarek

CEO & Chairman

Channel Director

Walter Gontarek is our CEO and Chairman. As such, he sets the firm’s strategy, articulates its culture, and manages key stakeholder relationships.

He previously served as Managing Director/Global Head of Credit Products at the Royal Bank of Canada and held senior executive roles in capital markets and consumer/SME banking in the US, Canada and Europe.

Walt holds non-executive board roles at the UK regulated arms of Catalina Re-insurance and Wiserfunding Ltd. He holds an MBA from NYU Stern School of Business and a Doctorate (Finance) from Cranfield University. He also holds certificates from Carnegie Mellon University (Cyber Risk Board Oversight) and Stanford University (Board Directors College).

Walt is a Visiting Fellow/Lecturer for Sustainable Finance/Financial Markets at Cranfield University and SciencesPo Paris and a Professor (Honorary) for fintech at the University of Aberdeen, Scotland.

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Varda Shine Channel Capital Advisors
Varda Shine

Ex-CEO, DeBeers Channel Vice Chair/SID

Channel Director

Varda is Senior Independent Director and Chairs the Compensation Committee at Channel as well as REMCO, helping to align our values and performance aims to long-term outcomes. Varda has over 30 years’ experience in global strategy, senior business management and marketing roles, including C-suite activities.

Varda joined De Beers in 1984 and became CEO of the De Beers Diamond Trading Company (DTC) from 2006 until 2014. In 2013. She successfully completed one of the largest transfers of economic activity from the Northern to the Southern Hemisphere – the multibillion dollar relocation of the DTC business from the UK to Botswana – after which Varda stepped down as CEO to pursue a portfolio career. Working across borders, she has continually developed pioneering approaches to collaborating with government partners from Southern Africa to Canada. She has overseen the creation of an international network of public/private joint-venture operations in multi-cultural environments, dealing with complex supply chain issues while delivering on the expectations of major international stakeholder relations.

Varda has completed business and management courses at Templeton College, Oxford, Cranfield and INSEAD. She is a board member or advisor at Petra Diamonds, Vulcan Cyber, and the Mineral Development Company of Botswana (Pty) Co. Varda is also a C-suite executive mentor to leading executives in global markets.

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Jack Caouette Channel Capital Advisors
Jack Caouette

Ex-CEO/Chair CapMac

Channel Director

Jack is a member of the Board of Directors, Chairs its Audit & Risk Committee, and is a member of the Compensation Committee. Jack provides advice to the management team on strategic matters for 15 years and liaises with key stakeholders and shareholders as needed.

Jack previously served as senior banker in the capital markets business at Citibank in Asia and the US where he played a key role as one of the founders of the derivatives markets. He founded CapMAC and served as CEO and Chairman, including its listing on the NYSE.

He was named in March 2010 as non-executive Chairman of the Asset Protection Agency, an executive agency in the United Kingdom and subsidiary of HM Treasury, to help create a rescue for the banking crisis in the UK. Jack holds an MBA from UC Berkeley and a BS from California State University, Long Beach. He is the co-author of Managing Credit Risk, published by Wiley & Sons in 2008 and 2014 with Dr Edward Altman and Paul Narayanan.

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Richard Leong Channel Capital Advisors
Richard Leong

CIO Lyon Capital

Channel Director

Richard is the Chief Investment Officer of Singapore based Lyon Capital Management which has supported Channel across a number of its investment strategies over the past ten years.

Previously, he served as managing director of the Flexo Manufacturing Corporation, Tigerpack Ltd in China, and SGS International Inc. Richard received his BS in economics concentrating in economics and decision sciences from Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.

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Deborah Hutchinson Channel Capital Advisors
Deborah Hutchinson

CFO & Head of Strategy

Channel Director

Deborah is a founding partner of Channel. She currently serves as CFO and Head of Strategy.

Before joining Channel in 2006, Deborah worked at Rabobank as Global Business Manager for all its capital markets activities, overseeing budgeting, planning, and other administrative functions. She previously worked at Westpac as Divisional Controller and EBRD as Principal Manager of its initial financial control policies. Deborah holds a BSc from the London School of Economics and is a chartered accountant.

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Ian Watson Channel Capital Advisors
Ian Watson

COO

Channel Director

As Chief Operating Officer, Ian joined Channel from his position of Managing Director at Corporate Linx, a Supply Chain Finance technology provider based in France and the UK.  He has  spent most of his career in invoice finance and asset-based lending, both here in the UK and overseas.

During his 9 years with Bibby Financial Services, he spent 6 years based in Australia & Singapore as CEO for Asia Pacific followed by 3 years in Atlanta as CEO of BFS North America.

His earlier career experience includes executive positions with General Motors Acceptance Corporation (GMAC) in the UK and prior to that International Factors, a subsidiary of Lloyds Bank.

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Advisory Panel

Advisors

Gabriele Sabato Channel Capital Advisors
Dr Gabriele Sabato

CEO Wiserfunding

Channel Advisor

Dr Gabriele Sabato is a Senior Advisor with a special focus on risk management and risk governance. Gabriele helps Channel’s senior management fine tune its risk decisioning and analytical processes for credit risk-taking activities.

Dr Sabato is a co-founder (with Dr Edward Altman) of Wiserfunding Ltd, a London FinTech that provides the Wiserfunding Z-score for global SMEs which is based on Dr Altman’s work of the past 50-years.  Dr Sabato has spent over 20-years before starting Wiserfunding in senior risk management roles across Europe for major banks and government agencies, as well as Experian. At RBS, he played a key role in driving new risk governance processes for the C-suite and the board of directors in the post financial crisis period.

Gabriele holds a PhD in Finance from University of Rome and was a visiting scholar at NYU Stern School of business.  He has published numerous studies on risk governance and risk management, including the most downloaded paper of the Journal of Banking & Finance.

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Susanne Chishti Channel Capital Advisors
Susanne Chishti

CEO Fintech Circle

Channel Advisor

Susanne Chishti has over 20 years’ industry expertise, including board-level experience, with a strong focus on organisational governance and the small and medium size enterprise (SME) market.

She helps to advise Channel on its use of FinTech tools to scale our AUM and improve customer experience as well as assessing our clients use of FinTech in their own operations.

Her experience draws on 15 years in finance, having held senior positions at Deutsche Bank, Lloyds Banking Group, Morgan Stanley and Accenture. Susanne is the CEO of FINTECH Circle, Europe’s 1st Angel Network focused on fintech opportunities. She is also the founder of the FINTECH Circle Institute, the leading fintech learning platform offering classroom innovation workshops and online courses to C-level executives. Susanne holds an MBA from Vienna University of Economics and Business.

A bestselling author, Susanne co-edited “The FINTECH Book” series, which has been translated into 10 languages and sold across 107 countries. Her wealth of experience led her to being recognised in the European Digital Financial Services “Power 50” 2015, an independent ranking of the most influential people in digital financial services in Europe. In addition, she was selected as a “City Innovator – Inspirational Woman” in 2016. She has been a guest lecturer on financial technology at the University of Cambridge and has also appeared as a fintech commentator on CNBC

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Simon Torrance
Simon Torrance

Embedded Finance

Channel Advisor

Simon Torrance is a global thought leader in digital finance, platform strategy and embedded lending. He is the founder of Embedded Finance & Super App Strategies which helps companies exploit embedded finance strategies and serves as CEO of Metaflight.

Simon is an Executive Working Group Member of Accelerating Digital Transformation initiative at the World Economic Forum and is a board member or advisor to a number of other global firms operating in the digital economy. Simon holds a MA, History from Cambridge University. At Channel, Simon is advising the Board and C-suite team on its digital transformation currently underway.

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Channel Capital Advisors
Duncan Rowland

CEO Migrations AI

Channel Advisor

Duncan is the CEO and founder of Migrations.ml, which optimises machine learning and credit decisioning in credit markets to bring data to analyse corporate credit risk.

Duncan previously served as senior director in Finance IT at Royal Bank of Canada.  He holds a Bachelor of Commerce, Accounting, from the University of Toronto. Duncan is advising the firm on the use of machine learning for its lending business.

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Diederick Van Thiel
Diederick van Thiel

CEO AdviceRobo AI

Channel Advisor

Diederick van Thiel is a serial fintech entrepreneur, investor and board member of leading firms at the edge of sustainable and digital economies. He is currently CEO & Chair of AdviceRobo and E-cology Innovations. AdviceRobo is a Next-gen credit decisioning platform to support global financial institutions with ‘access to finance services’ across Europe, Japan and other parts of Asia. E-cology Innovations is an AI-innovation boutique that supports innovative C-level leaders in banking, e-commerce and smart buildings with AI strategies, roadmaps and platforms for Next gen growth. For his visionary work he was awarded London’s Fintech entrepreneur of the year 2018.

He is also non-executive and chair of the sustainability committee and member of the digital & IT committee of IKANO Bank, owned by IKEA’s founding family. He previously was the Director of Consumer Markets in the boards of ING and KPN Mobile.

Diederick is a visiting professor at Jheronimus Academy of Data Science (JADS) and at Cambridge Judge Business School in AI driven decision sciences. His academic papers specialize in human centered AI in banking. His broader research interests lie at the intersection of behavioral and digital sciences. He is a best-selling author with his books “Riding the waves, the future of financial industries” and “Cool! customer experience! with which he won the Marketing Literature Price 2008. Diederick is advising our board of directors and leadership team on digital business development, digitalization and automated, machine learning based, credit decisioning.

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Vitali Avagayan Channel Capital Advisors
Vitali Avagayan

AI Optimised

Channel Advisor

Vitali is a data scientist at TurinTech AI, a leader in artificial intelligence optimisation in global businesses and financial institutions.  He previously service as senior advanced analytics lead at Air Products as has been also research associate at the University of Edinburg and Imperial College Business School. He holds a PhD in Energy Economics and Computational Optimisation from Imperial College London. Vitali is providing advice to the C-suite and the board on the use of AI in its Channel Digital and Channel Direct lending activities.

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david allcock Channel Capital Advisors
David Allcock

EU Supply Chain Technology

Channel Advisor

David is currently the EU Supply Chain Director at Gopuff in the EU.  He previously served as the CTO at Channel since its inception. Dave advices the leadership team and board on key technology-led initiatives underway at the company. He holds a PhD in Turbomachinery from Cranfield University and holds other degrees and certificates from Carnegie Mellon (Computational Finance), Cranfield University (Astronautics) and University of Bristol (Aeronautical Engineering).

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Piers Weston
Piers Weston

AON

Channel Advisor

Piers Weston is an Advisor to the CEO at Channel for all matters relating to ESG and sustainability.  This involves ensuring that Channel’s leadership position with regards to ESG investing and ensuring that Channel is at the forefront of implementing industry leading ESG scorecards and practices when screening investments and implementing best practice across the firm.

Piers spends most of his time at Aon in their Responsible Investment team advising pension funds and investment managers on the impact climate change will have on their portfolios and how they can incorporate ESG into their decision making. Prior to this, he worked at PwC working within their consulting finance function.

Outside of work, Piers has published a paper on the role of ESG in financial performance in The Journal of Sustainable and Finance Investment. He has presented his research to graduate students at both SciencesPo, Paris and Cranfield School of management.

Piers sits on the board of Governors for a school in Milton Keynes and has recently been appointed the Chair of the finance, staffing and premises committee.

Piers holds a Masters degree in Finance from Cranfield school of management and a BA in Politics and International Relations from The University of Sheffield.

 

 

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Team

Anna Rayner Channel Capital Advisors
Anna Bryson

Head of Operations

Team

Anna is focused on Channel’s day to day transaction management.

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Bhoomika Kesaria

Head of Investor Relations

Team

Bhoomika is the Head of Investor Relations at Channel. She is responsible for ensuring that Channel is appropriately positioned with investors, their advisors, and all other stakeholders.

Bhoomika has prior experience of over 13 years, across capital introductions, investor relationship management, private debt, and structured finance working with organisations such as Goldman Sachs, Northern Arc Capital, Lendable Inc and IBM.

She has worked extensively with a number of institutional investors across Asia Pacific, EMEA, and the Americas including – banks, asset managers, foundations, endowments, development finance institutions, and family offices while arranging capital.

Through her multiple roles, she has raised capital of over $600m for over 45 financial institutions and fintech via more than 100 debt and quasi-equity transactions across plain vanilla and structured products and completed more than 40 due diligences of financial institutions. She has hands-on exposure to multiple asset classes such as Fintechs, SME finance, Consumer finance, Microfinance, Housing Finance, Vehicle Finance, Payments, and Agri finance.

She holds a master’s in business management with a specialization in finance.

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Bilal Ahmed

Operations Manager

Team

Bilal sits within the Operations team at Channel and assists in the day-to-day management of transactions.

Previously, he worked as a Delivery Manager for the Ministry of Justice, where he managed a team of operational delivery staff. Bilal holds a BSc (Hons) in Economics, Statistics and Mathematics from Queen Mary, University of London.

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Deborah Hutchinson Channel Capital Advisors
Deborah Hutchinson

CFO & Head of Strategy

Leadership

Deborah is a founding partner of Channel. She currently serves as CFO and Head of Strategy.

Before joining Channel in 2006, Deborah worked at Rabobank as Global Business Manager for all its capital markets activities, overseeing budgeting, planning, and other administrative functions. She previously worked at Westpac as Divisional Controller and EBRD as Principal Manager of its initial financial control policies. Deborah holds a BSc from the London School of Economics and is a chartered accountant.

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Elaine Colley Channel Capital Advisors
Elaine Colley

Finance & Operations Manager

Team

Elaine joined Channel in 2007 and supports the finance, operations, and human resources functions of the business. She has supported various other Channel entities by providing accounting and other support services.

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George Cunningham Channel Capital Advisors
George Cunningham

Senior Credit Risk Manager

Team

George brings diverse financial experience to Channel as a Senior Credit Risk Manager. His primary responsibilities include investment due diligence, credit underwriting and portfolio management.

Before joining Channel, George worked in corporate development in the NBFI space and spent several years as an investment portfolio analyst in the wealth management industry at UBS and Capital Generation Partners.

George holds a first-class BSc in Mathematics from Loughborough University and is a CFA Charterholder.

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Ian Watson Channel Capital Advisors
Ian Watson

COO

Leadership

As Chief Operating Officer, Ian joined Channel from his position of Managing Director at Corporate Linx, a Supply Chain Finance technology provider based in France and the UK.  He has  spent most of his career in invoice finance and asset-based lending, both here in the UK and overseas.

During his 9 years with Bibby Financial Services, he spent 6 years based in Australia & Singapore as CEO for Asia Pacific followed by 3 years in Atlanta as CEO of BFS North America.

His earlier career experience includes executive positions with General Motors Acceptance Corporation (GMAC) in the UK and prior to that International Factors, a subsidiary of Lloyds Bank.

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Jonathan Kirkland Channel Capital Advisors
Jonathan Kirkland

Operations Manager

Team

Jonathan is focused on Channel’s day to day operational management. Prior to joining Channel in 2021, Jonathan held an operational role at Select Invoice Finance. Jonathan holds a BSc in Mathematics from De Montfort University (1st Class).

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Johan Nisser

Senior Structurer

Team

Johan is a Senior Structurer in Channel’s Debt Products team, focusing on executing structured finance transactions on behalf of Channel’s client base.

He is an experienced securitisation banker having previously worked at Santander CIB, StormHarbour Securities and BNP Paribas with a variety of client types and vanilla and esoteric asset classes. His product knowledge includes trade receivables, consumer assets, SMEs, CLOs amongst other.

Johan holds an MSc in Quantitative Finance from Cass Business School.

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Kristian Wilson Channel Capital Advisors
Kristian Wilson

CTO

Leadership

Kristian Wilson is Chief Technology Officer (CTO) at Channel. In this role, he is responsible for driving the company’s technology and embedded finance vision.

Kristian joined Channel from Auto Integrate, the market leading maintenance authorization platform in North America, where he successfully migrated the platform to the cloud. Prior to that, he has delivered scalable technology platforms in businesses ranging in size from start-up to SME, across a variety of industries, including protecting millions of children online with Future Digital, providing the underbanked with access to competitive finance and high quality rental property with Richmond Group, and helping corporations understand their VOIP telephony with Tiger Communications.

Kristian holds an MCOMP in Computer Science from Loughborough University (1st Class).

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Mike Watson

Head of Risk

Team

Mike brings over 30 years’ experience to Channel of operating at a senior risk level within the commercial finance sector in the UK, Europe, and other territories. Trade Finance, Receivables Financing and other working capital funding solutions (secured and unsecured) have been Mike’s particular area of focus.

His involvement has been across the whole life cycle of a deal; from assessing the initial risk, through structuring, ongoing monitoring, exiting and (if necessary) implementing recovery and realisation strategies.

Mike joined full time in 2021 after having worked for Channel previously in a consultancy and external audit capacity. Prior to setting up his own consultancy Mike held various senior risk and relationships roles at various organisations including Bibby, Arbuthnot Latham, Lloyds, and Barclays. Mike holds BSC in Business & Managerial Economics, he is a Graduate Member of the Charted Institute of Credit Management.

 

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Paul Wilson Channel Capital Advisors
Paul Wilson

CIO – Channel Funds

Leadership

Paul Wilson has over 22 years’ experience of investing in credit and structured finance markets globally. He was previously a senior portfolio manager at BlueMountain Capital Management, investing in structured finance and other credit products.

Prior to this he was managing director and global head of structured credit markets at Credit Agricole. Before this he was head of credit correlation trading at Citibank for Europe. He began his career trading credit products at Morgan Stanley where he spent 7 years and was an Executive Director.

He holds an MPhys in Mathematical Physics and an MSc in Financial Mathematics from the University of Edinburgh. Paul sits on the firm’s executive committee, risk committee and managing partners committee.

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Channel Capital Advisors
Rob Retèl

Managing Director

Team

Rob is Channel Digital Managing Director. He has more than 42 years of international development experience including leadership positions at both Dutch and international organisations such as Randstad Uitzendbureau and De Lage Landen. Rob was also a Managing Director of Bibby Financial Services BV in The Netherlands and Belgium. In his spare time he enjoys playing golf and volunteering his time as treasurer for several charitable and community organisations.

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Sherry Nadeem

Lead Software Engineer

Team

Sherry has joined Channel as a Lead Software Engineer. He has 10+ years of experience in full-stack development, with emphasis on the backend (APIs, architecture, infrastructure, etc). His previous roles span a decade of contracts with businesses/clients of all types and sizes in a senior/lead or consultancy capacity, being involved across the entire SDLC, including Agile ceremonies.

Sherry’s current role at Channel will involve similar responsibilities in helping shape the business technical direction, modernisation and helping us to fulfil our contractual obligations to our clients – both current and prospective.

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Sonum Pandhi Channel Capital Advisors
Sonum Pandhi

Senior Operations Manager

Team

Sonum has experience in managing and driving the growth of trade receivables and inventory financing programmes at Trafigura.

Sonum is a Chartered Accountant and ACT certified, having FP&A and Product Control experience at JP Morgan.

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Tony Smedley
Tony Smedley

Director of Sales

Team

Tony joined Channel Capital Advisors in February 2020 as Head of SME Business Development and leads the growth of the working capital business in the UK.

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Walter Gontarek Channel Capital Advisors
Walter Gontarek

CEO & Chairman

Leadership

Walter Gontarek is our CEO and Chairman. As such, he sets the firm’s strategy, articulates its culture, and manages key stakeholder relationships.

He previously served as Managing Director/Global Head of Credit Products at the Royal Bank of Canada and held senior executive roles in capital markets and consumer/SME banking in the US, Canada and Europe.

Walt holds non-executive board roles at the UK regulated arms of Catalina Re-insurance and Wiserfunding Ltd. He holds an MBA from NYU Stern School of Business and a Doctorate (Finance) from Cranfield University. He also holds certificates from Carnegie Mellon University (Cyber Risk Board Oversight) and Stanford University (Board Directors College).

Walt is a Visiting Fellow/Lecturer for Sustainable Finance/Financial Markets at Cranfield University and SciencesPo Paris and a Professor (Honorary) for fintech at the University of Aberdeen, Scotland.

 

 

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