Posted on March 18, 2019 by staff

Senior hires at FinTech giant OakNorth


OakNorth Analytical Intelligence has strengthened its leadership team following a $440 million investment round led by SoftBank.

Nikolai Varma joins the London firm, Europe’s most valuable FinTech, as chief commercial officer while Rikard af Ekenstam is its new managing director for corporate development.

Varma has over 20 years’ experience in Mergers & Acquisitions and IPOs, having completed more than 50 transactions over his career.

He joins from Morgan Stanley where he held the role of managing director in the financial institutions group, responsible for the coverage of banks in emerging Europe and Scandinavia.

Ekenstam also has over 20 years’ experience working in financial services, most recently at Mizuho Bank where he led their commercial and investment banking business in Sweden, Denmark, Norway and Finland.

Prior to this, Ekenstam worked for Moody’s Analytics Knowledge Services where he led their European, Middle Eastern and African business, providing advanced analytics and research services to financial institutions.

Previously, he led ABN AMRO’s Commercial and Investment Banking business across 20 countries in the CEEMEA region.

Varma will head up the business development team globally, which now includes over 20 people across offices in London, New York City and Singapore.

Meanwhile, Ekenstam’s role will see him focusing on new business development and corporate development, focusing on strategic partnerships.

Joel Perlman, co-founder of OakNorth, said: “We are pleased to be welcoming both Nikolai and Rikard to OakNorth Analytical Intelligence’s leadership team.

“They’re joining at a very exciting time for the business as we’ve recently closed a $440m investment round led by SoftBank, which will enable us to accelerate our already very ambitious growth plans.

“Both Nikolai and Rikard have an exceptional track record of working for some of the world’s largest and most well-known financial institutions across multiple markets – experience that will prove invaluable as we continue deploying our technology with more lenders around the world.”