New chairman appointed to Finance Wales board

Ian Johnson, the former CEO of Biotrace International Plc, has been appointed Chairman of Finance Wales, the provider of commercial funding to SMEs in Wales.

Mr Johnson, who was appointed through an open selection process, is currently Chairman and Deputy Chairman of AIM listed companies Evans Analytical Group and AOI Medical Inc respectively. He is a non-executive director of the Ruskinn Group and an advisor to Tate and Lyle Ventures. He succeeds Brian Howes OBE who had been Chairman since Finance Wales was established by the Welsh Assembly Government in 2001.

Mr Johnson has a strong track record in the formation, growth and flotation of high growth companies. In 1988 he co-founded Bridgend-based Biotrace Ltd, a leading manufacturer and supplier of industrial microbiology products, and led the company’s flotation on the London Stock Exchange in 1993. He became CEO of the company in 1999, prior to the company’s acquisition by 3M in late 2006. During 2007 he was involved in the flotation on AIM of AOI Medical Inc and the Evans Analytical Group.

“2008 is an important year for Finance Wales and I’m very pleased to be joining at such an exciting time. Finance Wales has a strong track record in commercial investment and the company commands a great deal of respect with institutions, intermediaries and investee companies not just in Wales, but throughout the UK,” said Mr Johnson. “I’ve experienced the benefits of commercial investment throughout my career and I’m very keen to share my expertise of SMEs in Wales and to encourage them to achieve their growth ambitions by taking advantage of the commercial funding opportunities Finance Wales can offer.”

Sian Lloyd Jones, CEO of Finance Wales, welcomed Mr Johnson’s appointment. “Ian’s understanding and practical experience in developing high growth businesses from formation to flotation provides him with a clear understanding of the type of businesses that Finance Wales invests in. He will be a valuable asset to our already strong board of non-executive directors.”

Former chairman, Brian Howes, who was involved in the selection and recruitment process, said: "I am delighted that we were able to appoint a new chairman with a great track record in starting up a very successful business in Wales. Ian’s wide experience will ensure that Finance Wales will further strengthen its role and reputation as a financial institution with real relevance to growing Welsh businesses."