Stefan Kimmel, Chief Operating Officer of Commercial Bank of Dubai brings 20 years of experience in digital transformation, technology management, and innovation to the role.
“CBD has always been at the leading edge of the digital transformation, so when I was offered the opportunity to join and be part of that transformation journey it was an exciting opportunity.
Kimmel has worked in the Middle East for 10 years and reflects on the benefits of having international experience especially as he joined CBD at the height of the pandemic.
“It is always helpful, especially in this region which attracts a very international workforce, as it gives you a broader view on customer expectations and on challenges and potential solutions and opportunities to drive change.
“The magnitude of the pandemic was something nobody has ever experienced before, So ultimately we all had to solve the challenges as we went along and new opportunities arose. Thankfully it did not cause any visible impact on our service delivery.
Kimmel has 20 years of experience in digital transformation, technology management, and innovation with a range of globally leading organisations including BCG, Oliver Wyman, and IBM. Prior to joining CBD, he was the Leader of Digital Technology, Financial Services at PwC for the Middle East.
Citing the traits of a good leader, Kimmel said one of the main ones for him is “being successful by making other people successful”.
“As the business and technology environment is becoming more complex and diverse, you need quite a range of different types of expertise, capabilities, and personalities. The ability to create an environment where you can attract that range of people, align them behind a joint vision, and set them up in an environment that enables them to be successful is very important.
“I think the other aspect is collaboration because with transformation there's nothing you can ever do by yourself. You always depend on driving collaboration within your own team, but also collaborating with other parts of the organisation. In our case, with the bank, with our service providers, the system partners, the regulators, our clients. So being a good leader definitely entails being a good collaborator in this environment.”
One leader Kimmel admires is Bernd van Linder, CEO of CBD, who he says sets a clear vision for the bank which is shared and aligned across all operations.
“I think something that sets us apart, and is definitely a strong trait, is the degree of alignment in the leadership team as we have a CEO who sets a very clear vision which is shared across the bank. Driving that joint vision, making us successful in driving collaboration across the bank end-to-end is something that works quite well here and is clearly driven by our CEO.”
A decade of living and working in the Middle East means that Kimmel and his family enjoy holidays taking in the mountain air in the Alps. “I enjoy living by the sea but it is good to be in the mountains of Switzerland or Austria. I am a vegan and enjoy Italian food but have to say the choice of vegetarian food here in Dubai is excellent.”
Kimmel holds a Master’s in Business Management from the University of Nuremberg as well as a Master’s in Business Administration from the University of Georgia in the US.
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