by Jennifer O'Brien

Gumtree hires Roisin Parkes as first female CTO

May 04, 2017
Technology Industry

Gumtree Australia has tapped Roisin Parkes as its first female chief technology officer to be the ‘voice of the technology team’ and to drive the next phase of growth.

Parkes replaces Paolo Ragone, who was the first CTO of the company and left “to explore new opportunities” after 10 years with Gumtree and the wider eBay classified group.

Gumtree Australia is a community marketplace connecting buyers and sellers in the local community, visited on average, by more than seven million Australians each month via desktop and mobile sites, as well as iPhone and Android apps.

Gumtree’s Roisin Parkes

“We welcome Roisin to the leadership team and are excited to have her significant experience on board to help lead our ambitious strategy,” Gumtree Australia general manager, Martin Herbst, said in a statement. “Roisin absolutely fits the bill of a CTO who can expertly drive technology forward in an iconic business like Gumtree.”

Under the remit, Parkes will lead Gumtree’s technology strategy and operations and play a leading role for Gumtree Australia by driving decisions for the broader business.

With 20 years’ experience developing and managing software products and technical teams in Australia and European markets – Parkes will lead a growing local team in executing strategies to drive platform scalability, team scalability and architecture in alignment with the business strategy. She will also help drive enhancements in Gumtree’s customer experience.

“Through the previous leadership roles I have held in Europe and Australia, I have demonstrated a proven ability to lead and motivate high performing agile teams, crossing multiple disciplines with a practical mix of product management, ensuring a strong customer focus and commitment to solving real world problems,” according to information from Parkes on Linkedin.

Under her new responsibilities at Gumtree, Parkes will lead strategic planning by prioritising technology initiatives and coordinating the evaluation, development and integration of future technologies into products and services. She will also foster innovation and retain an innovative mind-set in the engineering culture; as well as implement highly secure services with high compliance (OWASP, PCI, SOX) standards.

Parkes said she’s excited about the opportunity to work for a company that’s building a strong community marketplace, particularly at a time in company history of aggressive growth.

“I’ve admired the work Gumtree does, and the overarching goal of growing a community marketplace where all Australians can prosper, for a long time. I’ve already witnessed the fast-paced, innovative workplace culture, and am thrilled to be joining the company at such an exciting time in its growth trajectory,” Parkes said in a statement.

Parkes said her fascination with ‘the way things work’ inspired her to start a career in technology, back in her native Ireland.

“From a young age I have been fascinated and curious about the way things work. This is a trait I inherited from my father, an engineer who throughout my childhood would tinker with old electrical circuit boards on our kitchen table,” according to information on Linkedin.

“This urge to tinker ultimately spawned a 20 year career in the technology sector and a passion for innovation which I carry with me today. As my career progressed I developed a belief that technology’s underlying purpose is simply to make people’s lives easier, and I have witnessed the ability it has to bring communities together.”

Roisin’s passion for technology also sees her setting up her local school’s coding club (she’s a member of Code Club Australia), a position she hopes will inspire and engage the next generation of CTOs.