Karen Penney

Vice President UK Payments Products

Western Union Business Solutions, UK

Karen has spent over 25 years in blue chip customer facing service businesses, working in the UK and internationally. She is currently the Vice President of Payment Products for Western Union Business Solutions in the UK, where she leads a team focused on international payments, supporting companies across various industries including NGO, Education, Pensions and Payroll. Since taking up this position in the middle of 2018 Karen has established herself as a respected leader with a commercial and customer centric approach and a desire to develop her people.

Karen was General Manager for the American Express UK Corporate business from 2012 to 2018 and was responsible for driving significant growth from a mature business through a focus on small businesses, international payments and working capital optimisation. Leading a team of 300 her key responsibilities covered all customer facing activity including direct sales, engaging existing customers and developing new value propositions & revenue streams, alongside managing the P&L. She also sat on the European Risk committee and was a director of the American Express insurance subsidiary.

Karen previously held a number of increasingly senior roles within American Express including successfully growing and retaining the relationships with the top 150 clients globally; creating new integrated teams to drive an improved customer experience while ensuring full regulatory compliance; transforming mid market account management from a servicing and retention culture to a successful sales culture; launching an offshore management information team to drive increased customer engagement and loyalty in a cost effective way; and converting customers to a digital servicing experience.

Prior to joining American Express, Karen spent five years with AIR MILES, a subsidiary of British Airways in a variety of commercial roles, following a five-year stint with Citibank Diners Club in sales and account management positions in the UK. Karen began her career on the NatWest graduate training programme and honed her analytical skills at Bankers Trust.

Karen is very interested in the subject of mental health and well being at work and is a keen advocate for women in the workplace.