The Payment Systems Regulator has made two key appointments to its executive team: Alex Olive as General Counsel, and Natalie Golding as Chief Operating Officer.

The two appointments are part of the PSR’s move to a new organisational structure and will support the regulator’s role to improve outcomes for people and businesses who rely on the UK’s payment systems every day.

As General Counsel, Alex will be responsible for leading the PSR’s team of expert lawyers and for providing legal advice and managing legal risk across the organisation – including the PSR Board and Executive Committees. Alex will join the PSR on 12 June 2023.

Alex joins the PSR from the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), where she was the Legal Director and previously the Mergers Director. Since November 2022 she has also been part of the Senior Leadership Team in the Investment Security Unit at the Cabinet Office, leading on national security risk identification, analysis, remedies and enforcement.

As COO and Head of People and Operations, Natalie will be accountable for, and have strategic oversight of, how the PSR invests in the skills and capabilities of its staff, the overall effectiveness of its operations, and the way in which the PSR manages project delivery and risk management. Natalie will join the PSR on 3 July 2023.

Natalie joins the PSR from the Cabinet Office where she was Director of the Leadership, Government Skills and Curriculum Unit; prior to that she was Chief of Staff to the COO of the Civil Service and Permanent Secretary for the Cabinet Office.

Further biographical information can be found below.

Alex and Natalie join the PSR’s Executive, which also includes:

·         Chris Hemsley, Managing Director

·         Kate Fitzgerald, Head of Policy

·         Natalie Timan, Head of Strategy Analysis and Monitoring

A further appointment to the PSR Executive, Head of Supervision and Compliance Monitoring, will be announced soon.

Chris Hemsley, the PSR’s Managing Director, said:

“With the rapid pace of change in the payments sector, and the impact that our work has on supporting the UK economy and society more generally, Alex and Natalie join the PSR at a key time. To deliver against our ambitious strategy, the PSR needs to invest in and attract the right skills and experience for our teams, and continuously improve how we deliver our projects. This includes making sure that all of our work is informed by the best possible legal advice and analysis.

“Alex and Natalie have a track record of delivering good outcomes and driving high performance in critical areas of the economy. They bring a wealth of knowledge and experience from working at high-profile regulators, government departments and in the private sector, and understand the importance of good engagement and offering value for money – qualities that will be essential in helping us deliver our Strategy and making sure payments work well for everyone.”

Biographical information

Natalie Golding

Natalie Golding is currently Director of the Leadership College for Government. The College offers senior leadership development and networking opportunities to senior civil servants and public sector leaders, and practical management training for everyone from first time managers to experienced leaders.

After a number of years working as policy professional, Natalie moved into an operational role working on Brexit-related contingency planning.

She also worked on plans for the UK’s biggest ever peacetime repatriation of UK holidaymakers in response to the collapse of Thomas Cook and served as Chief of Staff to two permanent secretaries, most recently the Chief Operating Officer of the Civil Service, Alex Chisholm.

Alex Olive

Alex is a competition, economic regulation and national security specialist, whose career spans private practice, and senior civil service roles in delivery, policy and legal services.

She joins the PSR from the Cabinet Office, where she led the Investment Screening Unit's work in relation to risk identification, analysis, remedies, compliance and enforcement in respect of the National Security and Investment Act 2021.

Prior to this role, Alex was Legal Director at the UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) – leading on all aspects of antitrust investigations and merger control. During her time at the CMA, Alex also served as Mergers Director and Head of Brexit strategy. Alex's has also held senior legal roles in NHS Improvement and Ofgem.

Alex brings significant private practice experience, where she advised on competition law, mergers, commercial agreements, sector regulation and antitrust litigation.

Throughout her career, and particularly at the CMA and the Cabinet Office, Alex has been dedicated to championing culture, diversity and inclusion, mental health and resilience.