Meet the IOE&IT leaders

The IOE&IT Leadership team is responsible for strategic planning and operation of the Institute - setting its priorities and allocating resources.

A team of eight directors led by director general Marco Forgione directs the IOE&IT's activities, having worked across various disciplines and vertical sectors including government, retail, FMCG, telecoms, aviation, media, financial services and trade associations.

The directors bring diverse perspectives and insights to the Institute as a global membership body and trusted interlocutor between the international trade community and its stakeholders.

Marco Forgione

Marco Forgione

Director General

Kelly Rawles

Kelly Rawles

Chief operating officer


Gary Wattley

Finance Director

An organisational development specialist, Marco has a proven track record leading B2B trade bodies through periods of regulatory and market change.

Marco was appointed director general of the IOE&IT in January 2020, leading the charity forward through training and education. The Institute has gone from strength-to-strength under Marco’s leadership, including significantly increasing its work overseas and in developing nations.

Milestones include the IOE&IT’s success as part of the consortium that in September 2020, won the contract to provide HMRC’s post-EU exit border programme, the Trader Support Service (TSS), to ensure the continuing flow of goods between Great Britain to Northern Ireland.

Parliamentary role
After graduating from LSE with a degree in geography, Marco took a parliamentary role within the Department of Environment & Urban Affairs.

A skilled, results-driven senior management professional with 11-plus years’ experience in commercial management, Kelly has a strong track record in leading operations, driving productivity and profitability while delivering superior results.

Kelly is playing a lead role in the transformation of the IOE&IT, where she has managed the organisation’s expansion from 15 team members to more than 150. This includes recruiting one of the UK’s largest talent pools of trade and customs specialists.

Together with director general Marco Forgione, Kelly is steering the IOE&IT as the leading organisation in the promotion of international trade worldwide through education, training and business support services.

A former team leader at BNP Paribas, Kelly has led complex projects and directed operations that improve productivity, efficiency and effectiveness.

Gary has over 30 years’ experience as a finance professional (including more than 15 years at board level) in start-ups through to FTSE 100-listed businesses.

Across a range of sectors, including fintech, retail, FMCG and airlines, Gary has specialised in leading and supporting businesses through growth, transformation and turnarounds – as well as building finance departments from scratch.

Gary has managed diverse teams around the world including in North America, India, Hong Kong, Australia, across Europe. He has worked with Paysafe Group, John Lewis Partnership, Dixons Stores Group, easyJet, bmi, Lufthansa and Aviva.

Joining the IOE&IT at the start of 2021 as finance director, Gary is responsible for finance, projects, events and governance.

Vicky Picture

Vicky Payne

Academy Technical Director

Kevin Shakespeare

Kevin Shakespeare FIEx

Director of Strategic Projects and International Development

Chris Martin

Chris Martin

External Affairs Director

As technical director of the IOE&IT Academy, Vicky leads a team of 30+ customs and trade consultants
delivering training, qualifications and consultancy. Vicky is an accredited customs and trade specialist with more than 20 years’ industry experience working for large supply chain and automotive firms. An accredited customs professional, having completed a Business Management Degree with Honours through Coventry University and the Diploma in World Customs Compliance & Regulations with the IOE&IT, Vicky specialises in customs compliance and supporting businesses implementing the regulations to ensure best practice across the supply chain.

At Jaguar LandRover Ltd, Vicky was part of the Brexit preperation team, upskilling team members and preparing logistics partners to ensure minimul impact resulting from Brexit and ensuring least distuption possible in the transition.

An advocate for international trade for more than 40 years, Kevin is highly respected within the international trade community. He has facilitated cross-border trade for thousands of UK businesses and been pivotal in designing and delivering new documentation and processes pre- and post-Brexit.

He is currently leading the IOE&IT’s trade digitalisation work, with a focus on the UK Single Trade Window and Ecosystem of Trust.

Formerly the IOE&IT’s director of stakeholder engagement and then Academy Director, Kevin was involved in developing the Diploma in World Customs Planning and Compliance, a Foundation Degree in International Trade and the Northern Ireland Customs and Trade Academy (NICTA).

Kevin has led many trade initiatives in the UK and internationally, including work with Invest NI, Scottish Enterprise, UK Export Finance and Saudi Export Development Authority.

He is a United Nations-approved trainer and author of a best-selling book, Trade for Good.

Chris joined the IOE&IT as director of external affairs in January 2023 and leads a diverse team with responsibility for public affairs, media relations, policy, content and editorial.

He brings over 16 years’ experience as a corporate and public affairs leader and joined IOE&IT from global public relations consultancy Ketchum where he was a board director and head of public affairs. Through his consultancy career Chris has advised clients ranging from multinational corporations and FTSE 100 companies to trade associations, NGOs and start-up businesses.

Helen Hastie

Helen Hastie

Membership engagement manager

Andy Berry

Andrew Berry

Projects director

With a strong background in commercial and relationship management, Helen oversees the Institute’s membership service, provisions and delivery.

Since joining the Institute in 2018 Helen has worked across a number of departments. She is now transforming the IOE&IT’s membership offer, with the result that business and individual member numbers have grown from 3000 in 2019 to more than 7000 today.

As she steers the IOE&IT through its application for Chartered Status, Helen is also developing its CPD programme of learning events.

Having led the project management of the IOE&IT’s involvement in delivering the Trader Support Service for HMRC, Andrew is now applying his strategic leadership skills to managing all IOE&IT projects and services, including events.

Andrew is a highly skilled and accomplished project director with more than 20 years’ experience delivering projects and business change programmes in multiple sectors including government, defence, insurance, banking, retail and software.

He has worked for major corporations including Tesco, Royal Bank of Scotland Insurance and Worldline, confident in managing budgets of all sizes and resolving complex client issues.