Standard Chartered Bank has appointed former ING COO Roel Louwhoff as Group Chief Technology, Innovation and Digital Officer -- as Group CIO Michael Gorriz announces plans to retire this year after overseeing a sweeping modernisation at the bank, including ambitious work to rebuild its core banking and payments architecture for the cloud.
Standard Chartered Bank -- which has 85,000 employees and a network that serves customers in close to 150 markets worldwide -- said Roel Louwhoff, who has been Chief Operations and Transformation Officer at ING since 2014, will (like Dr Gorriz) be based in Singapore. He will take the reins in November 2021 subject to regulatory approval.
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Louwhoff, a widely respected leader who led sweeping digitalisation efforts [pdf] ING, cultivating relationships with over 150 fintechs, shifting to a more modular architecture, and setting up a "war room" in 2017 to lead efforts to build up digital channels, said June 17: “I relish the prospect of taking on a new global challenge at Standard Chartered: helping to further digitise the business and supporting our customers and employees around the globe."
He added: "I look forward to joining the international tech team and innovation engine, SC Ventures, and playing a part in their further success.”
(ING had announced that Roel Louwhoff was leaving the company in April 2021. The Dutch bank took the opportunity to split operations and technology responsibilities on its board, appointing existing CIO Ron van Kemenade as CTO sitting on its banking Management Board, with responsibility for infrastructure, apps, architecture, data management and adding responsibility for information security: a sweeping brief.)
Adios, Dr Gorriz
Michael Gorriz -- who spent over a decade as CIO at Mercedes-Benz Cars and then the broader Daimler AG group in Germany before joining Standard Chartered in 2015 -- has overseen the start of a shift of core banking to AWS; the launch of the bank’s new “nexus” banking-as-a service; and the launch of Mox, its new virtual bank in Hong Kong, among other recent innovations. (nexus – a cloud-based platform that lets digital platforms like e-commerce providers offer white-labelled loans, credit cards and savings accounts co-created with the bank – was incubated at SC Ventures, Standard Chartered’s innovation, fintech investment and ventures arm and started from a business plan mooted by an employee, who now leads the venture with a team of over 100).
In an in-depth interview with The Stack earlier this year, Gorriz described how "with a bit of sweating, and a little bit of re-engineering” Standard Chartered had taken its core banking system onto AWS in Vietnam. ("We were able to go from 150 TPS today, to 4,000 TPS, with the same system" he told us. "That was the moment where my guys called me and said, ‘Michael, we are fully convinced: you don’t have to press us any longer!’ And they don’t have to pull out their hair for backups and restore. And it’s all done as a service.”)
The bank plans to replicate the process in every single country it operates in, he said, adding that " core banking, we plan to have 15 countries in the cloud by the end of 2021... we have 22 applications in the cloud. By the end of the year, 26; by 2022, another 50; then, another 100."
As Gorriz added in the same interview: “Typically, for one function, we have max two or three systems across the world. It’s not a case of having this whole country where you have a behemoth which nobody dares to tackle. Only four of our countries still had their own core banking system: Hong Kong — which is our largest market — and Korea, which we bought more than 10 years ago alongside with Thailand and Taiwan. Just recently I got approval for core banking replacement in these countries; so we will have the same core banking system across our universe, which will allow us to roll out new products and services rapidly across all markets.”
He will retire in December to concentrate on his external board and advisory roles in Europe and Asia, Standard Chartered said on June 17, noting that he has left in place "a strong and diverse technology leadership team and a modern, cloud-based architecture that is the bedrock for the Bank’s digital ambitions. We are grateful for Michael’s many contributions.”
Louwhoff should enjoy the experience of shifting operations to Singapore. Gorriz described moving to the city to The Stack as "like checking in to a five star hotel", dubbing Standard Chartered "friendly and multinational".