Movers and Shakers: Notable Summer Hires in Digital Financial Services

Behind every great technology is a human mind… well, obviously, right? That’s why FIs are always on the prowl for finding the most adept people that fit in with the institution’s digital philosophy. Whether it’s a chief innovation officer spearheading major initiatives like creating an AI-powered bot or engineers orchestrating smaller changes to enhance the institution’s technology stack, if you are a bank or fintech, the talent on team matters just as much as the technology.

Speaking of talent, here are some notable summer hires that Bank Innovation is paying close attention to:

Ripple’s new Senior VP of Business and Corporate Development, Kahina Van Dyke:

If that name sounds familiar, it’s probably because you heard Van Dyke’s name in reference to her former employer, social media giant Facebook. Earlier this month, Ripple announced it hired Van Dyke to lead its strategic partnerships for the blockchain focused money transfer company. The role seems apt for Van Dyke, who spent her time at Facebook instituting partnerships with FIs like Citibank, PayPal, TD Ameritrade, Visa, Western Union, etc. Her experience in financial services is vast, prior to Facebook she was at Mastercard and Citibank focused on risk mitigation and compliance.

We are curious to see what partnerships she adds to Ripple’s repertoire.

Shawn Ahmed, President, and CEO of Umpqua Bank’s accelerator/innovation subsidiary Pivotus:

Earlier, this summer in April, Ahmed took on the role of president and CEO at Pivotus. Interestingly, he was one of the first major hires for Umpqua Bank’s relatively new CEO Cort O’Haver.

“Part of the job is keeping an eye on emerging technologies and assessing how they can be applied to financial services,” Ahmed previously told Bank Innovation. “But also, a big part of the job is collaborating with the team and taking advantage of their expertise in different fields and applying that to innovation to create a product that is necessary for the customer, and will make their banking experiences easier.”

Umpqua’s O’Haver described Ahmed’s hire in the following way: “The prior CEO [of Pivotus] was very bright and creative, but I needed to transition to an operator.”

Before Pivotus, Ahmed was a senior director at ML-focused data analytics platform provider Splunk. Based in Silicon Valley -Pivotus was set up in 2015 by Umpqua’s longtime CEO Ray Davis, who retired last year.

Finastra’s new Chief Information Officer, Gareth Burton:

Earlier this week, fintech giant Finastra announced Burton would lead its global information services team. At Finastra, Burton will oversee its enterprise core infrastructure and employee services. Burton’s prior experience is not too heavy on the financial services side, but certainly heavy on the technology side. He has led digital transformation programs at telecommunications, oil & gas, engineering and construction companies such as African Minerals, Baker Hughes, Motorola, and BT. Prior to joining Finastra, he was serving as CIO at construction firm Laing O’Rourke.

At Finastra he will work closely with the company’s Chief Cloud Officer, Natalie Gammon.

Based in the U.K., Finastra was formed in 2017 from the merger of Misys and D+H. The company provides banks and FIs with various cloud-based solutions from payments to designs. It has been aggressively pursuing deals with banks, FI, and fintechs, to provide these services.

It will be interesting to see what or who Burton brings to Finastra’s table.

Leonard A. Bernstein, partner at Holland & Knight:

After a long time at financial services regulatory firm ReedSmith, Bernstein announced earlier this month that he was moving to Florida. -based Holland & Knight to form a new office for the firm in Philadelphia.

In an email announcement two weeks ago, Bernstein told his former co-workers of 26 years: “Taking this step is deeply emotional and challenging, and I have many superb former colleagues I will miss.”

At Holland & Knight, Bernstein will help set up the office in Philadelphia and will be responsible for hiring lawyers for the law firm.

With the rapidly changing landscape thanks to new threats brought on by new technology, privacy issues and implications of big data, compliance is a  big areas of activity for financial services this year. Seems like Bernstein picked an interesting time to switch institutions up. 

Ronnie Momen, chief lending officer, LendingClub:

Two weeks ago, digital lending platform LendingClub introduced Momen as the new chief lending officer. With a solid experience in the consumer credit area, Momen will oversee LendingClub’s credit strategy including the use of credit data, analytics as well as be involved in developing new products to extend the fintech’s footprint and offerings.

Before LendingClub, Momen was the Chief Credit Officer at Atlanta-based fintech GreenSky. With about three decades in the industry, he’s also served as EVP and Chief Credit Officer for Consumer Unsecured Products at Wells Fargo, and has held various credit leadership positions at HSBC.

At LendingClub, Momen reports directly to President Steve Allocca.

With the digital lenders gaining a lot of momentum thanks to their use of alternative data and innovative underwriting methods, Momen finds himself in a potent industry with a bigtime player.

Want to know who else in the digital banking and fintech world Bank Innovation is paying attention to? Check out our list of 44 Innovators.

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