People Moves EMEA: Bain, Santander, Deloitte, Reddit, MTN

By Kate Birch
From banking to consulting and from Nigeria to Saudi Arabia, among this week’s EMEA executive moves include hires at Santander, Bain, Deloitte and Red...

In a week where Santander UK appoints new senior tech hires as it preps for a major tech platform overhaul and South Africa-headquartered MTN Group makes a number of executive appointments as part of its strategic repositioning, there were plenty of movements to and within the EMEA region, from Nigeria to Saudi Arabia to the UK, and including at Bain, BNP Paribas, Deloitte, Santander, Reddit and MTN Group.

Here’s Business Chief’s weekly round-up of the big executive moves in EMEA.

Graham Calder becomes interim CIO for Santander UK

Following the appointment of Santander UK’s current chief technology officer, Graham Calder has been brought on board as Santander UK’s interim CIO as the Spanish banking group undertakes a major overhaul of its legacy technology platforms. 

A former Group CIO at Ladbrokes Coral Group and Chief Technology Officer for Pearson PLC, Calder brings “a wealth of expertise and experience in delivering major technology change programmes, which will be invaluable as we deliver on our ambitious plans over the coming years”, says Tony Prestedge, deputy CEO at Santander UK. In this role, Calder will be tasked with leading the delivery and development of Santander UK’s technology strategy and IT transformation plan support the bank’s aim to become “a digital bank with a human touch”.  

Chika Ekeji joins MTN Group as executive for strategy

Nigerian-American national Chika Ekeji has joined Johannesburg-headquartered MTN Group as an executive responsible for strategy and transformation. Previously leading the West Africa Digital Practice for management consultancy McKinsey & Company in Nigeria, Ekeji has extensive experience serving telco, financial services and the public sector clients across Africa. 

The appointment of Ekeji follows MTN Group’s completion of a comprehensive strategy review and as “we work to accelerate our strategic repositioning”, says MTN Group COO Jens Schulte-Bockum. Ekeji will be tasked with leading the mobile network operator’s growth strategy. 

Kate Donaldson joins Bain’s PE practice as a partner

With more than three decades of experience driving commercial transformation for both private equity portfolio companies and corporate clients, Kate Donaldson joins Bain & Company’s UK private equity practice as a partner. Based in the company’s London office Donaldson will be tasked with leading Bain’s commercial excellence work with PE portfolio firms. 

With hands-on expertise in the areas of salesforce effectiveness and transformation, sales strategy, go-to-market improvement, and sales incentive assessment, Donaldson brings “tremendous experience and will provide pragmatic, action-oriented recommendations on how companies should address key opportunities, such as B2B salesforce mobilisation and the associated change management challenges”, says Mark Kovac, global head of Bain & Company’s B2B Commercial Excellence team. 

Reema Al-Asmari to head BNP Paribas in Saudi Arabia

Joining from BNP Paribas Natixis, where she was CEO for Saudi Arabia, Reema Al-Asmari has been appointed head of territory for Saudi Arabia for BNP Paribas, strengthening the bank’s corporate and investment banking presence in the Kingdom. Set to oversee the bank’s national commercial strategy, Al-Asmari brings a wealth of experience and an “in-depth knowledge of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia”, ideal for helping expand the bank’s product and service work in all CIB segments, including sustainable finance, says Amine Bel Hadj Soulami, had of BNP Paribaas Middle East and Africa. Prior to working at BNP, Al-Asmari worked as treasury services contry head for JPMorgan & Chase in Saudi for nine years. 

Guy Stevens joins Deloitte as partner in corporate finance

Bringing more than two decades of investment banking industry expertise to the role, dealmaker Guy Stevens is set to join Deloitte as a Partner within Financial Institutions Group (FIG). Having previously worked for some of the world’s largest investment banks, including Citigroup, Rothschild & Co., and most recently as UBS head of FIG business for the MENA region, Stevens brings “deep-sector and deal-making expertise” that will be invaluable to Deloitte in its delivery of “bespoke, innovation solutions to new and existing financial services clients”, states Jonathan Gold, Head of FIG Corporate Finance Advisory, Deloitte UK. 


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