Leadership Profiles

Darren Pope

Darren Pope Headshot


Darren has over 30 years of banking experience and has previously been the CFO at TSB Bank Plc. He took a lead role in the design and divestment of the TSB business from Lloyds Bank plc and its subsequent IPO and takeover. Darren joined the Clydesdale and Yorkshire Bank Plc board (renamed Virgin Money UK PLC) as part of the group’s acquisition of Virgin Money Holdings and is chair of the Remuneration Committee and a member of the Risk and Audit Committee.

Darren is also on the board of Hargreaves Lansdowne and is chair-elect of the Audit Committee and Network International Holdings Plc, where he is chair of the Audit and senior independent director. In addition to extensive banking experience, Darren also brings early technology experience as one of the founders of Egg Plc where he developed all management accounting processes and lead financial content of the Egg IPO.

As Chair of HSBC Innovation Banking UK Limited, Darren oversees the governance of the subsidiary.

Astrid Grey

Astrid Grey Headshot

Non-Executive Director

Astrid is an Independent Non-executive Director and Chair of the Risk Committees of HSBC Innovation Banking UK, Danske Bank UK and CAF Bank.

Prior to her portfolio career, Astrid has held various senior risk management positions in her 30 years career. She principally worked at Lloyds Banking Group and Deutsche Bank operating on a global basis, across investment and commercial banking. She has also designed and delivered large scale Transformation programs in technologies and organisational design for both groups.

Astrid is a dual French and Swedish national. She holds a B.A. in International Business Administration from the American University in Paris and an M.A. in International Affairs from S.A.I.S - Johns Hopkins University.

Helen Heslop

Helen Heslop Headshot

Non-Executive Director

An internationally experienced finance director, Helen spent over 20 years working in sizeable corporations across the globe including executive assignments in Paris, Bangkok, Budapest and Stockholm. Her roles included CFO Western Europe, CFO Nordic and Baltic, CFO Thailand for GE Money and CFO Western Europe for Aviva plc. Proven leadership qualities through the growth and development phase of a corporation and through transformation, restructuring and run off.

Significant experience in Retail Banking, Consumer Finance and Insurance sectors including activities in Strategic Transformation, Cost reduction and restructuring, Start-up operations including greenfield retail bank, Financial process and system reengineering, Organizational redesign and Acquisition integration.

Helen currently is a Board member and chairs the Audit Committees of Hiscox Insurance Company Ltd, Aegon UK and HSBC Innovation Banking UK. She is approved by the PRA and FCA as an SMF11.

Helen has a MA in Economics from the University of Cambridge and is a UK Chartered Accountant.

Erin Platts

Erin Platts Headshot


Erin Platts is the CEO of HSBC Innovation Banking UK and is responsible for leading, developing and scaling the business.

Having joined the SVB UK branch in 2007, Erin has played an instrumental part in the growth of the bank formerly SVB UK, leading the bank to become an independent standalone subsidiary in 2022.

Prior to her role as CEO, Erin served as Head of Commercial Banking, UK & Europe and is a well-connected and active champion of the innovation economy.

She has a strong background in market and product development and delivering upon banking and debt transactions for technology and life sciences companies and their investors.

In 2020, Erin was selected by Innovate Finance as a Top Women in Fintech under the Senior leader category and by Computer Weekly in the top 200 Most Influential Women in Tech.

Patrick Flynn

Patrick Flynn Headshot


Patrick joined HSBC Innovation Banking in April 2020 as Chief Operating Officer, responsible for managing the bank’s operations, client service, technology and vendor management. He is focused on developing, implementing and executing the operational strategy, streamlining systems and improving processes to better serve the bank’s clients and employees.

Patrick brings with him over 20 years of experience in financial services, having most recently served as Chief Operating Officer at Santander Corporate and Investment Bank where he was responsible for Middle Office, Governance Operational Risk and Compliance, Business Management and Change, Technology and Operations. At Barclays Investment Bank he held the role of Chief Operating Officer of Global Finance Risk Solutions. He has also held senior operational roles at Nomura and Lehman Brothers.

Patrick started his career in the British Army as an Aircraft Engineering Officer where he served in a variety of front-line and staff roles. He holds a BEng in Electronic Systems Engineering as well as an MBA from Cranfield University.

Tom Wolfenden

Stuart Tait Headshot


Tom joined HSBC Innovation Banking in April 2023 as Chief Financial Officer and is responsible for the financial management of the Bank and is also a member of the Board

Tom is a Chartered Accountant with 25 years' experience in the financial industry and has spent over a decade at HSBC, most recently as HSBC UK's Head of Retail Banking.

Tom has held a number of finance leadership roles across HSBC including the CFO & Head of Strategy for the UK Wealth and Personal Banking business, Global CFO for HSBC Insurance and CFO for the Retail & Wealth business in MENA, based in Dubai. Prior to HSBC, Tom was an Audit Director at KPMG, specialising in Banking & Insurance clients across the world.

Tom has a degree in Econometrics from the University of Sheffield and is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants England & Wales.

Jim Watts

Jim Watts Headshot

General Counsel and Company Secretary

As General Counsel and Company Secretary for the UK, Jim Watts is responsible for HSBC Innovation Banking's legal function and provides company secretarial support to the UK Board. In both roles, Jim works closely with every team across the bank giving him a rewarding insight into the full spectrum of the organisation.

Prior to his role at HSBC Innovation Banking Jim had a varied career, starting in computer science and progressing to law. During his time as a Partner at Charles Russell Speechlys Jim focused on supporting innovation companies through M&A as well as VC and PE financing. Jim holds a BSc in Computer Science and Management from King's College London.

Stuart Tait

Stuart Tait Headshot

General Manager Head of Commercial Banking

Stuart Tait was appointed Head of Commercial Banking UK in December 2021 and is responsible for HSBC UK’s relationships with 700,000 large, medium and small business clients.

He is a General Manager at HSBC Group, one of the world’s largest banking and financial organisations with assets of nearly US$3trillion, as 31 March 2023. Prior to his current role, Stuart was Regional Head of Commercial Banking for Asia Pacific, the leading international wholesale bank in the region and of the Group’s fastest-growing franchises.

Stuart has worked in financial services for over 30 years. He joined HSBC in 1984 as an International Manager and has held various positions in Commercial Banking, Global Banking and Markets, Retail Banking and Wealth Management, Human Resources and Risk. Previous assignments with HSBC have been based in various Asia markets, the Middle East, US, Canada and in the Group’s Head Office.

John Hinshaw

John Hinshaw Headshot

Group Chief Operating Officer

John Hinshaw joined HSBC in December 2019 and was appointed Group Chief Operating Officer with effect from 1 February 2020. He is a member of the Group Executive Committee.

Mr Hinshaw has extensive experience of transforming and digitizing organisations in a wide range of industries. Before joining HSBC, he served on the Board of Directors of the Bank of New York Mellon (2014-2019) and chaired its Technology Committee. He also has served on the boards of Sysco Foods, DocuSign, and Illumio Inc.

From 2011-2016 he served as Executive Vice President of Hewlett Packard and Hewlett Packard Enterprise where he managed Technology and Operations and was Chief Customer Officer.

He has also held senior executive positions at Verizon and Boeing. He earlier served as a consultant with Accenture (then Andersen Consulting) and began his career as Computer Systems Manager for the American Embassies in Europe based in London.

Between 2012 and 2019, Mr Hinshaw served on the Board of Directors of the US-based non-profit National Academy Foundation (NAF) and chaired their STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) committee. NAF helps high-school students to prepare for college and their careers.

Mr Hinshaw has made several angel investments in technology start-ups in the areas of healthcare, HR technology, and food and beverages. He and his wife Julia are the majority owners of Blackbird Vineyards in Napa Valley, California. They have also established a charitable foundation with a focus on innovation in education and healthcare.

Mr Hinshaw holds a Bachelor of Business Administration in computer information systems from James Madison University and is a graduate of the G100 next generation leadership programme.

Mridul Hegde

Mridul Hegde Headshot

Independent non-executive Director

Mridul is a member of Ernst & Young LLP Public Interest Board and UK Audit Board. Mridul's former appointments include: non-executive Director of the UK Municipal Bonds Agency and member of its Risk and Audit Committee; and senior roles at the Financial Reporting Council and HM Treasury, where she was Director of Financial Stability during the 2008 financial crisis and prior to that, Director of Public Spending.