UK Export Finance (UKEF), the UK’s export credit agency, has made three senior appointments in the last month across its business development, underwriting and policy and products divisions.

Richard Simon-Lewis (pictured) has been appointed UKEF’s new head of origination, client coverage, marketing and communications; Adam Harris as its new head of civil, infrastructure and energy; and Andy Blacksell as its new head of underwriting policy and products. They are all internal hires.

UKEF says the appointments will enhance its senior management capability, as the department takes steps to realise the ambitions set out in its business plan for 2017-20. Additional recruitment into senior roles across UKEF’s policy and operations divisions is planned for the coming months.

Simon-Lewis is a structured financier with over 25 years’ experience heading up energy and infrastructure units at leading project and export institutions. In 2016, he became UKEF’s head of civil, infrastructure and energy and led the division through a period of significant growth. He also pioneered an innovative new ‘supplier fair’ model which has connected hundreds of UK companies with opportunities worth hundreds of millions of pounds on major international projects.

In his new position, Simon-Lewis will focus on seeking and securing global opportunities for UK exporters, helping to connect UK capability with international demand, raising awareness of UKEF’s support among exporters and overseas buyers, and generating new business both at home and abroad. He will also develop a new network of international advisors to support UKEF’s overseas activity across 20 different markets.

Harris began his career in the civil service fast stream, gaining experience in a range of positions across UKEF, including credit risk analysis, as well as policy at HM Treasury and HM Revenue and Customs. He spent over five years in UKEF’s aerospace underwriting division, before becoming chief of staff to Louis Taylor, UKEF chief executive, in 2016.

He will take over responsibility for managing and developing a growing team of 30 specialist underwriters, responsible for delivering and enhancing UKEF’s support for the civil, infrastructure and energy sectors.

Blacksell has over 15 years’ experience at UKEF, spanning roles as a country policy officer for Sub-Saharan Africa and an underwriter in UKEF’s civil, aerospace and defence sector teams, as well as managing the department’s transition through landmark changes to its governing statute in 2015.

In his new position, he will focus on ensuring that UKEF’s tools, insights and resources are fully utilised to develop and deliver the products that UK exporters need, to support them in making the most of trading internationally, with greater pace, efficiency and capacity.

Taylor has welcomed the three to their roles, saying:

“I am very pleased to announce these appointments into key positions as we look to deliver world-leading finance to help the UK’s world-leading exporters grow their business internationally. Richard, Adam and Andy will bring the expertise, creativity and ambition required to help UKEF realise its aim to be the best export credit agency in the world.”