Debt purchaser Arrow Global has appointed a new chief executive just 24 hours after it announced it will enter the Italian market.
The former chief financial officer of Virgin Money, Lee Rochford, will become the group chief executive and board director of Arrow from January 3 2017.
Tom Drury has decided to step down from this position after five years with Arrow but will remain with the firm until the end of February to assist with the handover.
Arrow said Rochford has “relevant” experience including running a pan-European financial institutions advisory business which focused on the acquisition and sale of portfolios of non-performing loans across Europe.
Jonathan Bloomer, chairman of Arrow, said: “Tom has made an outstanding contribution to Arrow since he joined as chief executive in 2011. He led the successful initial public offering in 2013 and has overseen a series of strategic acquisitions.”
Bloomer also said the group now has a diversified asset base and mix of income streams in the UK and across Europe including the proposed acquisition of Italian servicing business Zenith Service SpA.
He said this marks Arrow’s strategic entry into the Italian market having agreed terms to acquire Zenith for an enterprise value of €17m.
Arrow said the transaction, anticipated to be completed in the first half of 2017, is subject to regulatory approval by the Bank of Italy.
Drury said: "Italy is one of Europe’s largest and fastest growing potential markets for servicing and acquiring non-performing loans and other financial services assets.
“Zenith provides a low risk, robust platform and important servicing capabilities. Clients value Arrow’s breadth of expertise, data capability, reach and scale and Zenith meets all of these criteria.”
During an exclusive interview with Bloomer he said Arrow would look into the possibility of buying telecoms debt in the next few years.
He said the debt purchaser is not currently looking to invest in any new European markets but believes there are “real opportunities” in the Italian and Dutch markets.
Bloomer added: “We are looking to find more assets in Italy. There is a relatively low level of retail debt to date in the country but I think we will see the market develop over the next two to three years.”
As part of Credit Week in March 2017 Credit Strategy will host a CDSP: European NPL Conference including a range of speakers from Italy such as Davide Falconi of BNP Paribas and Andrea Clamer of Banca Ifis.