Intelligent Growth Solutions appoints Sarah Willis as chief financial officer
Intelligent Growth Solutions (IGS), the Edinburgh-headquartered agritech business, has appointed Sarah Willis as its first chief financial officer.
Ms Willis’ appointment reflects the company’s need for substantial transactional and commercial financial experience to support IGS’ global growth strategy in the vertical farming market.
With many countries developing national food security strategies there is an increasing emphasis on sustainable food production. This is driving a rapid maturing of the vertical farming industry, generating significant levels of momentum from customers, consumers and investors. IGS’s strategic position fits very well with these developments enabling the company to enter multiple regional markets this year.
Ms Willis’ role will be pivotal as the company looks to expand its operating base over the coming 12 months, ensuring operational support, corporate governance and reporting structures are fit for purpose. She will be responsible for the company’s financial management, HR, admin support and new office development, working closely with IGS CEO David Farquhar and the Board.
Her appointment comes soon after that of COO Andrew Lloyd who joined IGS in January, complementing chief product officer Lawrence Ross who continues the culture of technical innovation and the systems approach for which IGS is renowned.
Ms Willis joins IGS from Spirit Energy, where, as Head of Finance Operations, she was responsible for the financial integrity of the company which generated over £1bn of revenues. Prior to that, Ms Willis’ was in senior management overseeing operational and financial performance at Centrica E&P in the UK and Europe. she is a qualified Chartered Accountant, starting her career with KPMG and latterly Deloitte in Aberdeen, before joining Wood.
Working with highly regulated industries throughout her career, Ms Willis brings a strong commitment to due diligence, risk management and governance. She brings broad, multi-national M&A experience which will boost IGS’ ability to roll out across its global markets. Her financial and stakeholder management experience will further enhance the relationship with the IGS investment and shareholder community helping transition to a capacity expansion phase in this exciting industry.
Talking about her decision to join IGS, Sarah Willis commented: “The opportunity to be part of a business like IGS is really exciting. The combination of the talented team, the incredibly innovative technology and the prodigious industry growth was compelling for me.
“The company has achieved remarkable progress to date, reflecting its purposeful approach and hugely passionate team. I believe strongly in the guardianship of the planet – we must leave it in a better place for the next generation - and businesses like IGS are genuinely committed to this belief and have embedded this in its approach so well. I am delighted that I can be part of this ambitious team to help support a positive evolution in food production for the future.”
David Farquhar added: “Sarah is a hugely welcome addition to the leadership team at IGS, as we seek to further diversify and expand the talent across our organisation. She joins our business at a crucial and pivotal point in our evolution, bringing us a fresh perspective from the energy industry particularly, whilst expanding her own capabilities and leadership skills in her first CFO role.
“The IGS growth curve is steepening sharply and Sarah’s appointment demonstrates our commitment to deliver optimum results for our investors, customers and partners. Sarah’s international experience is world class, given her career in highly regulated, quoted companies across multiple geographies. Her leadership will be vital in helping us efficiently manage significant expansion.”
Ms Willis graduated from the University of Edinburgh and Dauphine Université de Paris where she studied International Business with French. Sarah is an advocate of diversity in its many forms and was involved closely in supporting Spirit Energy’s initiatives to create a more inclusive culture across the oil and gas industry.
Ms Willis is based in Aberdeen where she lives with her husband and daughter. A fluent French speaker, she is also very interested in music and plays golf.