Aussie fintech unicorn appoints local GM

Melbourne-founded paytech Airwallex has appointed a dedicated General Manager for its growing Australia and New Zealand business, with the newly named local lead promising to disrupt the A/NZ’s banking and financial system.

“After an extensive global search”, Airwallex said, Luke Latham, a former senior leader at AWS and Amazon, has been appointed to lead Airwallex’s 200-strong Australia and New Zealand workforce. The company employs more than 1,400 people globally.

Latham, a 14-year veteran of the tech sector, most recently served as chief operating officer at MILKRUN, a grocery delivery service acquired by Woolworths Group in May in a last-minute deal to save the ailing business.

Airwallex chief executive and co-founder Jack Zhang welcomed the incoming Latham “as the right person to help Airwallex expand and build on the more than 15,000 Australian and New Zealand business customers we work with”.

“We did an extensive global search to find the right person to lead our business locally because Australia is where we started and it is a special place for Airwallex.”

Zhang added: “Luke will be a key part of our future success as we grow our network that now spans across North America, Asia-Pacific, Europe and the Middle East.”

Airwallex, a SaaS payments specialist with a large presence in the Asia Pacific region, develops a range of cross-border payments processing and foreign currency exchange services, based on its proprietary network. As well, the fintech develops treasury and expense management platforms and embedded finance technologies.

The company today processes upwards of $50 billion in global payments annually.

Over the last year, Airwallex has grown its Australia and New Zealand customer base from around 6,000 to more than 15,000 businesses, adding Kogan, Camilla, EUC, HiSmile, BFT, RATIONALE and Ecosa.

They join other big-name local businesses including Qantas, Culture Kings, Stake, Mr Yum and Assembly Label.

Commenting on his appointment, Latham said the local market presented a ripe area for disruption.

“Uncertain economic environments are catalysts for disruption and I think Airwallex is in the right place with the right technology and right infrastructure to be at the forefront of that change,” Latham said.

“There’s huge opportunity to remove the pain points and high costs you get from traditional banking and financial services.

“Airwallex has seen phenomenal growth because businesses see the appeal of an alternative to the traditional banks across their needs in payments, treasury, expense management and embedded finance.

“I’m excited to lead a team in Australia and New Zealand made up of some of the smartest and most ambitious disruptors in the region.”