The Association for Financial Markets in Europe (AFME) appointed Simon Lewis as its chief executive. The new hire will assume his position on Oct. 1.

Mark Austen, AFME’s head of markets policy, who was serving as the acting chief executive of AFME, has been appointed chief operating officer.

He was director of communications at 10 Downing Street and the Prime Minister’s official spokesman from June 2009 until May of this year.

After the general election, Lewis joined U.K. Trade and Investment (UKTI) as strategic communications adviser. Before that, he had been group corporate affairs director at Vodafone beginning in 2004.

Between 1996 and 2004, he held senior roles at Centrica, such as managing director for Europe and group director of communications and public policy.

From 1998 to 2000, he was assigned to Buckingham Palace to serve as the first communications secretary to The Queen.

Prior to joining Centrica, Lewis was director of corporate affairs at NatWest Group and head of public relations at S.G. Warburg Group.

He was also president of the Chartered Institute of Public Relations in 1997 and president of Eurogas in 2004. Eurogas is the Brussels-based trade association representing European energy
firms. He has also been chairman of the Fulbright Commission.

“Simon brings to AFME a unique blend of political insight, experience of operating in highly regulated industries and communications expertise. He will be an excellent and influential ambassador for the participants in the European financial markets and an inspiring leader for the Association,” said  Gaël de Boissard, AFME’s chair and head of global securities at Credit Suisse.

“'I am delighted to be joining AFME at such a critical time for the financial sector," Lewis commented. "This is an exciting opportunity for me to lead the only organisation representing the full spectrum of European financial institutions and which speaks from a position of authority and tremendous knowledge of the markets and how they work. By applying my experience of communications, advocacy and public policy I can help drive the agenda of AFME in its important work with legislators, regulators and other stakeholder groups. I am very much looking forward to working with the board and colleagues in AFME as we work towards achieving a more efficient and orderly financial system.”


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