Kari Stadigh replaces Geely CEO as Chairman of Saxo Bank

Rick Steves

Mr. Stadigh will replace Daniel Donghui Li, CEO of Zhejiang Geely Holding Group, who will continue as a regular member of the Board.

Kari Stadigh, former Group CEO and President of Sampo plc., was elected by the shareholders as the new Chairman of the Board of Saxo Bank.

Mr. Stadigh was Group CEO and President of Sampo plc. from 2009 to 2019 after being Deputy CEO since 2001. During his career, the Finnish executive worked as Marketing Manager and Head of Marketing of Sanoma Corporation (1978 – 1985), President of JP-Finance Oy (1985 – 1991), President and COO of Jaakko Pöyry Group (1991 – 1996), and President of Nova Life Insurance Company Ltd (1996 – 1998).

Stadigh has multiple positions of trust, including being a Member of the Board of Nokia and Waypoint Group Holdings.

Mr. Stadigh will replace Daniel Donghui Li, CEO of Zhejiang Geely Holding Group, who will continue as a regular member of the Board. ”Saxo Bank has a unique business model and very strong shareholders, and with their full support, I am looking forward to becoming part of this growth journey. Saxo Bank’s powerful trading and investment platforms are the best in the market and have great potential globally – especially as more people across the world look for intuitive platforms to manage their investments”, said Kari Stadigh.

Kim Fournais, CEO and founder, commented: “We would like to thank Daniel Donghui Li for his important contribution to the Saxo Bank Group over the last two years and we highly appreciate that he will continue as a member of the Board. Under Daniel’s chairmanship, we have made great progress in terms of expanding Saxo’s relevance to more clients and partners – especially in China with the establishment of our joint venture, Saxo Fintech, which truly strengthens our presence and opportunities in China with the support of our partner, Geely. On the same note, we thank Ian Zhang for his dedication and contribution to the Saxo Bank Group during his tenure on the Board – and we are delighted to welcome Yifan Zhang as new member of the Board.

“We are very proud that Kari Stadigh, one of the most renowned and respected leaders in the financial industry, will join the Group as our new Chairman. With his deep knowledge of the market and exceptional track record, we are well-positioned to execute on our strategy and further scale and grow our business.”

Yifan Zhang, Financial Sector GM and Management Committee Member of Geely Holding Group, will replace Ian Zhang, CFO of Polestar, as a board member.

The Board of Directors is now composed by:
Kari Stadigh, Chairman
Henrik Normann, Vice Chairman
Daniel Donghui Li, Board Member
Yifan Zhang, Board Member
Patrick Lapveteläinen, Board Member
Preben Damgaard, Board Member

Saxo Bank has recently reported 400% growth in client deposits since Geely took over the company. The key driver behind it is likely to be its business expansion in China arranged by Geely.

In the last three years, the 28-year old trading company has seen deposits growing from DKK 100 billion to the current figure, up by 400%.

Saxo established a China office in the Shanghai Free-Trade Zone in September 2015 and has since then signed extensive financial technology partnerships as part of its Greater China strategy. Geely International Hong Kong, a subsidiary of Geely Group, became a shareholder in Saxo in 2017 after acquiring a 25.71% stake and, one year later, the Chinese multinational took over after agreeing to hold 52% of the trading company.

Geely’s acquisition of Saxo Bank came amid a complete role-reversal that took place in China which created a massive opportunity for multi-asset FX brokers. The new law against regional exchanges opened the door to retail FX as companies look toward OTC electronic trading via international liquidity providers in order to retain their existing audience and branch out, whilst protecting themselves against closure.

This would mean the opening of prime brokerage accounts with global providers and using platforms hosted in mainland China, but developed and owned by global companies, in order to connect an existing Chinese client base to Chinese and international asset classes. Saxo Bank is in a prominent position to provide the needed liquidity to the Chinese OTC market, especially since being acquired by Geely. This just might be the key driver to Saxo Bank’s growth in recent years.

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