Fintech Australia’s new CEO is Brad Kitschke, Uber’s former government lobbyist

New Fintech Australia CEO Brad Kitschke (L) and Chairman Stuart Stoyan. Supplied.

Industry group Fintech Australia has appointed Brad Kitschke as its new CEO.

Kitschke previously worked at Uber Australia, where he was the Head of Public Policy and Government Relations from 2014 to 2017.

“It is a tremendous honour to be able to lead an organisation which has been able to achieve so much to advance the fintech cause in a relatively short period,” Kitschke said.

He replaces inaugural Fintech Australia CEO Danielle Szetho, who oversaw a rise in the association’s membership base from around 50 to more than 200 over a two-year period.

Szetho stepped down in March, with Sarah Worboys working since then as CEO in an interim capacity.

Kitschke told Business Insider that the association is aiming to advance Australia’s standing as a leader in financial technology across the Asian region.

“Part of my role will be to leverage Australia’s position as a fintech leader in the regional marketplace,” he said.

“We’ve already built strong links with AusTrade and the federal government and we want to continue the work done in those areas to assist the region, and for Australia to provide real thought leadership in this sector.”

He highlighted opportunities in blockchain, adding that Fintech Australia will have a key role to play in explaining blockchain to the general public.

“We currently have around 20 companies within our member base who use that techonology,” Kitschke told BI.

“As an industry body, Fintech Australia is supportive of blockchain technology and we see Australia as a world leader in that space.”

Regarding cryptocurrency, he said there’s been a holdup in crowd-funding platforms such as initial coin offerings (ICOs) in Australia due to increased regulatory oversight.

“Part of our role in cryptocurrency will be in debunking the myths about use-cases and providing trusted advice to consumers,” he said.

Kitschke said “one of the great things about fintech” is that many in the sector had worked in traditional financial services companies.

“So the change to more of a consumer focus is really embedded in their DNA. And the findings from the Royal Commission have demonstrated how banks treat the customer if left to their own devices,” he said.

“FinTech Australia has had a major policy win through the government’s open banking announcement on 10 May but there is still an incredible amount of work to be done.

“I will be ensuring that our members’ voice is heard in the creation of a secure and seamless open banking framework over the next 12 months.”

Fintech Australia Chair Stuart Stoyan highlighted Kitschke’s policy experience, and his strong engagement with government and regulatory authorities during his time at Uber.

“Brad’s pedigree as a successful public policy leader will be a huge asset for FinTech Australia as we seek to take our industry to the next level,” he said.

Fintech Australia is a not-for-profit organisation which now represents, advises and promotes a total of 243 financial services companies.