Skip to content Skip to Search
Skip navigation

Zand CEO quits just months after UAE licence win

Departing Zand co-founder and CEO Olivier Crespin Supplied
Departing Zand co-founder and CEO Olivier Crespin
  • Digital bank CEO Olivier Crespin leaves ‘to pursue other interests’
  • Zand and rival Wio go up against Liv., the UAE’s first digital bank
  • UAE digital account adoption could hit 34% next year

Zand, the digital banking platform that secured its licence from the Central Bank of the UAE in July, is on the hunt for a new CEO.

The bank, which has launched corporate services with personal banking to follow soon, announced a leadership change on Tuesday with Olivier Crespin, co-founder and CEO, moving on “to pursue other interests”.

Mark James Chittenden, Zand’s CTO, has assumed the role of interim CEO, and a new CEO will be appointed shortly by the board of directors.

Mohamed Alabbar, chairman of Zand, said: “On behalf of the Board, we thank Olivier for his rich contribution to creating a truly digital-first bank fit for the new reality. He has played a key role in building Zand’s operations from the ground up.

“He also assembled a talented and highly capable operational team of experienced bankers and technologists, who will continue to deliver on the vision of the board of directors.”

Crespin said it had been a privilege to work at Zand, which has “achieved significant milestones that will establish its position as the bank of the future”.

Zand recently received its banking licence from the UAE Central Bank, authorising and regulating it as a fully independent commercial bank.

Digital banking is gaining traction in the UAE and wider Gulf region as financial organisations seek to seize opportunities thrown up by fintech.  

Zand and rival Wio will go up against the likes of Liv., the UAE’s first digital bank targeted at millennials, which was launched back in 2017 by Emirates NBD, Dubai’s largest bank.

Jayesh Patel, who previously spearheaded the creation of Liv., was appointed CEO of Wio in May.

A global survey published in August by UK-based comparison platform Finder said 19 percent of adults in the UAE have a digital account, up from 17 percent last year – and that adoption could hit 34 percent next year and 41 percent in 2027.

The UAE has similar digital bank adoption levels to Hong Kong, Singapore, Spain and Mexico, the report added.

The global market size for digital banks is estimated to be worth around $300 billion, with roughly 400 around the world serving close to one billion clients, according to a 2022 report by consulting firm Simon-Kucher.

Latest articles

UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said the pledge ' sets a precedent for global standards on AI safety'

UAE joins AI safety pledge at UK-South Korea summit

Two artificial intelligence companies from the UAE have signed up to a new AI safety pledge and have committed to safe development of the technology. Abu Dhabi’s Technology Innovation Institute and G42 are among 16 names on the safety pledge that also includes Amazon, Google, IBM, Meta, Microsoft, OpenAI and Samsung. The announcement was made […]

Bruno Le Maire said France was also ready to help the UAE develop its own nuclear power plants

France ‘open’ to UAE investing in its nuclear plants

The French government is open to the UAE investing in the country’s nuclear power sector, its economy minister has said. Bruno Le Maire spoke to journalists in Abu Dhabi ahead of talks with Sultan Al Jaber, the UAE minister of industry and advanced technology, and Khaldoon Al Mubarak, chief executive of investment fund Mubadala and […]

Dhahran is home to the King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture. Retal will build almost 2,000 homes in the city

Retal wins $770m contract to build in Dhahran

The Saudi builder Retal has signed a SAR2.9 billion ($770 million) contract to design and build nearly 2,000 residential units in Dhahran, Eastern Province, for the giga-project developer Roshn.  Retal “will develop and design the detailed master plan, design and execute the infrastructure, landscape, construct 1,962 residential units and public amenities building in Aldanah project,” […]

GACA president Abdulaziz Al-Duailej said licences would be announced soon for more low-cost flights from regional Saudi airports

More low-cost airline routes planned for Saudi Arabia

Plans to privatise domestic airports have been announced by Saudi Arabia as part of an aviation expansion strategy, which includes imminent licences for more low-cost airline routes, the kingdom’s civil aviation authority said this week.  The General Authority of Civil Aviation has signed an agreement with a consortium led by the Turkish airport operator TAV […]