The experience of Tim Chambers, head of WEX Europe partnerships and supplier strategy, provides an insider’s view of the growth of our European operations. Tim is two years into his second stint at WEX Europe, having first worked with us from 2012 to 2014 when our European corporate payments business was just starting. Today, Tim’s work covers a total of 13 European markets, a huge change from six years ago when we served just two.
“When I first joined WEX Europe, we didn’t have any clients – it felt like a start-up, and that was one of the exciting things about it,” Tim remembers. “We had existing technology from the U.S. operations that was successful there, and we used that to paint a picture of what was possible for potential clients and how it could work for them in our markets.”
For Tim, Career Focus was Cards
Tim’s career in cards and virtual payments technology started, according to him, “by total accident.” He studied languages at the University of Leeds in the U.K. with a focus on German and French. After graduating in 2006, he took a call center job supporting the corporate card program run by GE Money. That position led to a graduate program within the company, where he was introduced to diverse roles from technical implementation to relationship management. “I fell in love with the card space then, and have been with it ever since,” he says.
From there, Tim spent four years with a Lufthansa-owned card issuer where he worked in account management. During that time, he had his initial exposure to WEX, which was a U.S. partner of his employer. After seeing some WEX product demos, and watching our growth in the U.S. virtual payments space, he remembers, “I was super impressed by how WEX came across in the market and how successful they were. They had such a great product and I knew I’d enjoy being part of their evolution coming into Europe.”
When Tim joined us for the first time in 2012, we were still known as Wright Express and were just getting our European virtual payments business established. His experience in both the technical and client-facing aspects of the cards business made him an ideal candidate for a position that required him to wear many hats. He started out by tapping his technology skills to help amend some of the initial API stacks and user interfaces needed to support European operations at WEX. He also worked to develop our first client pipeline, getting on the phone to do cold calls and using his tech abilities during client meetings where he would outline potential programs.
WEX Europe Today
After his initial two years at WEX Europe, Tim moved into a position at MasterCard in London where WEX became a client. The strength of his WEX relationships drew him back to us in 2016, this time to a bigger company and in a more senior role as head of European partnerships. “During the two years I was away, the company took on the WEX brand and matured – it showed it was able to win significant amounts of business and achieve high client retention rates,” says Tim of the changes he saw.
In his current role as head of European partnerships, Tim is responsible for going out into the marketplace and building relationships with key consultants, technology partners, and sellers of WEX solutions. Ultimately, his goal is to drive revenue through these channel partners. When he started this role, WEX Europe was live in two European countries. At the end of 2017, the company is now licensed to do business in additional markets, expanding overnight our reach to 13 countries.
“It was quite momentous when those new markets went live,” says Tim. “We’d done a lot of advance work prebuilding the partner pipeline, going into the new markets and speculatively putting deals in place. Now that we’re on the other side of that work, the rewards are potentially great and we’re firmly in control of our fate as to where we go to market in Europe, and that’s really exciting.”
Tim’s role as head of supplier strategy is one he took on at the end of 2017 and is a new position for WEX Europe. Until recently, the business focus had solely been on the buyer side of things. Supplier strategy is focused on the clients of our clients – essentially merchants and anyone else who accepts a virtual card as part of a transaction. These suppliers have become more influential in the process, with the ability to choose the types of cards that they accept, mostly thanks to changes in European regulation. Tim is in the process of hiring a team that can meet with suppliers and educate them about our products and their benefits.
There’s a lot to be excited about at WEX Europe these days according to Tim, who has seen the company expand from when he was employee #3 to the current staff of 55+ WEXers and growing. On a personal level, he enjoys collaborating directly with our partners and clients to make sure that the programs we put in place meet their needs. This aspect of his work taps into the range of expertise he has developed over the years, from the technical to finance to account management. He’s also thrilled about the move to our new London Bridge office at the end of 2017. Located in the heart of historic London, he says “this flagship office is a real announcement of the fact that WEX means business in Europe.”