The Team


Mark Runiewicz – CEO

Prior to becoming CEO at TAEFL, Mark had a successful career in banking, beginning his career with Midland Bank, moving to the International Division and running the international branch in the Midlands. In 1980 Mark joined TSB prior to the merger with Lloyds Bank and established their corporate international centre covering England and Wales, a similar role followed with Hill Samuel.

Following this, he moved into consultancy and was an external consultant to Asian Development Bank (part of the World Bank) working in projects in Pakistan, including restructuring the Country’s Export Promotion Bureau.

Mark returned to banking in 2006 with Clydesdale and Yorkshire bank to support businesses trading internationally. In addition to Mark’s banking success, he is also the author of the International Trade Survey, published in June 2015 and has conducted similar surveys since 1996. Moreover, he has written books on international trade, lectured on financing exports in Europe and North America and has been an expert witness in the High Court.


Mary McErlain – Director

Mary has been a co-director of Trade and Export Finance (TAEFL) since its inception in 2008. Since leaving her nursing career last year she is mainly involved in managing marketing, communication and human resources. Using Mary’s communication skills, TAEFL is looking to develop its internal and external communications, building on the successes of 2012. Our human resources side of the business is very important to us growing the business and managing people, as we aspire to be an organisation that people (staff and clients) want to be a part of.

Click here to watch Mary McErlain discuss her role at Trade and Export Finance


Ken Gibbs – Chairman

Ken is currently Non-Executive Director of Bank Sarasin & Co. Ltd., Guernsey Branch. He has a long and extensive career in the banking sector:

  • Specialised in International Banking with more than three decades of practical experience within the UK and abroad.
  • Managed two trade finance banks before taking up positions in Guernsey.
  • Assisting British Exporters to sell abroad (he spent two years in the Board of Trade Export Services Branch.
  • 33 year relationships with UK and overseas customers at all levels – Banks, DTI, IMF and World Bank.

Ken is a former Chairman of the Association of Guernsey Banks and former Council Member of the Guernsey International Business Association.

Click here to watch our video of Ken Gibbs on TAEFL TV.


Stuart Relton – Director

Stuart Relton  joined Trade & Export Finance as a trade finance specialist. His role is to focus on the detailed trade finance requirements of the growing number of clients who are taking up its services.

Having operated at the top tier of the trade finance sector for more than a decade, his expertise extends across all aspects of the subject.  In joining Mark Runiewicz and his team at Trade & Export Finance, Stuart Relton is focussed on building relationships with the company’s growing client base. “As TAEFL works exclusively for the clients rather than the financial institutions in the marketplace, we have no constraints on finding the most suitable solutions irrespective of their source. We are not ‘tied’ as a bank would be to a limited number of products in its portfolio”.

Stuart is a Registered and Approved Growth Accelerator Coach.  Growth Accelerator is the premier service that helps ambitious businesses achieve rapid, sustainable growth.

You can find a video of Stuart talking about his experience and role in TAEFL by clicking here.


Mike Cole – Head of Credit

Mike had a 35 year career in banking with NatWest and latterly Clydesdale in relationship manager and lending roles. He had an excellent track record in sanctioning loans directly (he had a maximum £3M lending discretion in the latter years) but also in the quality of submissions to Head Office for the larger lends.

Since leaving banking in 2008 he has run a successful consultancy business advising Corporate clients on banking under two main areas: banking reviews to seek the best deal with interest rates, fees, covenants etc. and also advising on obtaining finance, including the best way to structure a deal to ensure success and writing funding papers for clients to present to banks to ensure that the local mangers had the full facts in front of them when approaching their credit colleagues.

You can find a video of Mike talking about his experience and role in TAEFL by clicking here.


Natalie Tran – Account Manager

Natalie joined the TAEFL team in October of 2015 after graduating from Queen Mary University of London, with a First Class Honours degree in Economics. She believed that TAEFL would be the ideal place to kick-start her career following an introduction to the company.  Natalie is now an account Manager for UK EXIM, the specialist finance ‘sister’ company of TAEFL. In reaching this point, she has gained extensive work experience ranging from exhibiting at the NEC and London Olympia, through sales and marketing positions, to the demanding role of teaching assistant. As a result, Natalie has gained a wide range of skills, making her a confident communicator and very much a ‘people person’.

Outside her role with the TAEFL organisation, Natalie volunteers at an Oxfam charity shop where she supports other volunteers, helps raise money for the high profile charity, and gains further transferable skills of value to her work at TAEFL. Having been a volunteer since 2008, and the holder of a Duke of Edinburgh Scheme Gold Award, she demonstrates commitment and looks forward to growing within the TAEFL organisation as well expanding her finance knowledge.


Ben Richards – Account Manager

Ben joined the UK EXIM team through TAEFL in March 2016 as a Trainee Account Manager. Prior to this role, Ben had 12 years’ experience working for Barclays Bank in their Trade Operations department, gaining valuable knowledge in the subject of Import and Export Collections, as well as learning about Letters of Credit. During this time, Ben also worked briefly in the retail side of the Bank as a Cashier, gaining more knowledge of the company and a greater understanding of the importance of customer service.

Since 2013, Ben has been studying the AAT (Association of Accounting Technicians) qualification in his spare time and completed the Level 3 Diploma in December 2015. He hopes to complete Level 4 by 2017, which will make him a fully qualified Accountant. The knowledge gained in his studies, plus his experience in International Trade will be valuable in the role of Account Manager.


Elena Casarotto – Credit Analyst

Elena Casarotto moved to the UK from Italy in 2014 to take up an au pair post with a view to improving her English skills and experiencing English culture. By April 2016, Elena had completed her Bachelor’s degree in Banking and Finance at the University of Brescia in Northern Italy. She chose to return to the UK, which she saw as the ideal place to launch her career in finance.

Elena joined TAEFL in June 2016, where she is training as a Credit Analyst. She thinks that TAEFL is the right place to apply the knowledge gained during her studies. During this phase, she expects to develop her professional and personal skill sets.

Elena’s personal development has been influenced by having spent the past three years as a volunteer in a charitable healthcare association; an indication of her deep commitment to helping people. She finds it rewarding to assist small and medium-size companies in achieving their goals: TAEFL seems the perfect setting in which to start her career.


Abigail Gilmore – Executive Assistant

After gaining a first in her Bachelor’s degree in Adult Nursing at the University of Nottingham, Abi worked at the Accident and Emergency Department in Nottingham. In that role, she acquired and developed many skills through working with a large variety of people; all under time pressure and in often critical situations. Although Abi enjoyed working with people, time constraints prevented her from doing as much with people as she wanted  and she always left feeling like she should have done more.

After relocating to Birmingham, Abi decided to explore new career paths. When offered the role of executive assistant at TAEFL, she saw the opportunity to try something new and learn about trade finance – something she had known nothing about!

At TAEFL, Abigail is dealing with the administrative side of the business; anything from meeting and greeting guests, to handling clients’ shipping arrangements. Despite the dissimilar nature of nursing and Trade Finance, she will be using many of the skills at TAEFL that she learnt and developed working in the hospital. Communicating, team working, documentation accuracy, time management and flexibility demand the same high standards in both environments.

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