In conversation with Rian Urding, Group CFO
This month we are delighted to welcome our new Group CFO, Rian Urding, to Pragmatic. It was great to chat with Rian to hear about his first impressions and find out what he expects for the future of the company.
Rian is a fellow ICAEW Chartered Accountant who trained with Price Waterhouse Coopers and has spent most of his career in high growth, intellectual property driven, deeply technical businesses. He has co-founded companies as well as holding CFO positions in worldwide automotive enterprises, most recently McLaren Automotive, the iconic global supercar manufacturer. He has been instrumental in the strategic growth and expansion of multiple companies, which involved raising significant amounts of private equity funding.
Earlier in his career Rian was commissioned into the Royal Air Force before joining the British Army. Rian received his commission from the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst and stayed with the British Army for over 10 years, eventually retiring with the rank of Captain.
Q: What were your first impressions of Pragmatic?
Rian: I have always been interested in the power of technology companies since first understanding how hydrogen fuel cells could eventually replace every internal combustion engine globally, so when I was introduced to Pragmatic, I was immediately taken by the company’s novel technology and the amazing potential it has to provide solutions for some pretty significant markets that haven’t been penetrated by conventional electronics. I could see a very exciting future for my role in aiding the company in the coming crucial stages of growth.
I was also intrigued by Pragmatic’s wide focus on environmental impact. I have spent a fair proportion of my career working for electric energy and vehicle companies and feel passionately that businesses should care about their carbon footprint. I was amazed to see Pragmatic’s many projects ranging from reducing food waste to sustainable chip manufacturing and would like to see us continue and expand our ESG efforts in the coming years.
Finally, when I met the management team, I was impressed with how cohesive the group was. They all share a real sense of purpose and ambition, which is equally held by the supportive board members and shareholders. I am very happy to join this amazing leadership group with its incredible energy and commitment.
Q: What do you want to achieve in the near term?
Rian: Firstly, I want to make sure that the financial and administrative architecture for the business is both credible and capable for the significant growth that is coming, both in the UK and internationally. This includes ensuring the business has sufficient liquidity for its expansion plans, supporting and developing my super teams and also strengthening our systems, processes and controls.
I will be meeting with some of our strategic partners and customers, to get a deeper understanding of how they perceive the opportunities for our business together. I look forward to being instrumental in new partnerships, putting to use the breath of my experience.
I also want to make sure that the company continues to have the open, innovative, collaborative, friendly and engaged culture that it has now, no matter how large it becomes. Our people are the company, and we want to ensure we retain our talented teams and attract the best of the best to come and work for us as we grow.
Q: What are your thoughts on the future for Pragmatic?
Rian: I believe the company has an amazing future ahead, we offer a novel technology platform on which designers can create custom chips that have just the right amount of computing power for a specific purpose. Ensuring that resulting electronics is at exactly the right price point to enable them to add intelligence to things we use every day. The applications for ultra-low-cost electronics span a wide range of markets including healthcare, sustainable packaging, pharma, to name but a few. All of which represent trillions of items.
I continue to be deeply impressed at the range of customers that the company has already engaged with, the growth possibilities are endless. This is due to the incredible innovation in the technology and the committed and dedicated management team and employees. I am very excited to be a part of it.
Find out more about the Pragmatic leadership team here.