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Santander names Petri Nikkilä as global CEO of Openbank

By Gloria Methri

February 05, 2024

  • BNPL
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Petri Nikkilä, CEO, Openbank, Santander, Spain, FinTech
Petri Nikkilä, CEO, Openbank

Banco Santander has announced the appointment of Petri Nikkilä as the new global CEO of Openbank and head of the Digital Consumer Bank’s non-auto-consumer business.

Nikkilä succeeds Ezequiel Szafir, who was Openbank’s CEO until last year. Among his main priorities will be to lead the Openbank business in its current markets and continue to promote its international expansion. He will also manage Digital Consumer Bank’s non-auto-consumer business and the buy-now, pay-later business (including Zinia).

Nikkilä has extensive experience in the European financial sector, both in continental and in the UK, especially in digital banking. Until now, he was working in ING’s global retail digital transformation and earlier as head of Retail Banking for the Netherlands, Belgium, and Luxembourg.

Before that, he developed his career at Nordea, where he was responsible for digital transformation, as well as at HSBC. In addition, he has experience in the consumer sector, spending six years at Unilever where he led the business in Africa, the Middle East and Turkey.

A Finnish national, Nikkilä has always worked in an international environment and holds master’s degrees in Economics and Business Administration.

Ana Botín, executive chair of Banco Santander said, “Petri is an excellent addition to our team and brings a deep knowledge of financial services and a broad strategic vision in the consumer sector. In the past seven years, Openbank has expanded to become the largest digital-native bank by deposits in Europe and its technology is central to the group’s transformation. The Digital Consumer Bank is also a vital part of our strategy, allowing us to build stronger customer relationships and deliver consistent, profitable growth. We are delighted to welcome Petri to the group and we wish him every success.”

Nikkilä’s appointment will take effect in May and is subject to the appropriate regulatory approvals. Once he joins the group, he will become a member of the boards of Openbank and Santander Consumer Finance.

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