Stefan Kimmel

Stefan Kimmel

Chief Operating Officer

Kimmel explains how COVID-19 has created digitisation opportunities in banking and why customer-centricity is essential to CBD’s operations...

A graduate of the University of Nürnberg (1992 to 1998) and the University of Georgia (1996 to 1997), Stefan Kimmel’s distinguished career has included roles at some of the most prestigious consultancy companies in the world. Gaining far-reaching expertise on the subject of digital technology at BCG, Oliver Wyman, IBM and PwC, his expansive knowledge on the topic makes him well-placed to personally lead digital transformation efforts at the Commercial Bank of Dubai (CBD).

Joining the company in February 2020, on the eve of the global coronavirus lockdown, Kimmel says that the pandemic was a “curveball” at the start of his tenure to say the least. “I hadn’t even had the chance to meet all of my staff before everything was suddenly via Microsoft Teams or Zoom,” he recalls. Kimmel recognised CBD as a great opportunity for putting the theory he’d learned into practice: “After many years of telling clients what to do, I figured I wanted to get my hands dirty. Of course, it’s far more challenging but it's also a lot more rewarding.” It was the bank’s proud history, trajectory and outstanding track record of consistent revenue growth and profitability that captured his attention, as well as its promising commitment to digital transformation. The latter, he explains, is a direct result of CEO Bernd van Linder’s clear and committed long-term strategy.

Part of the new vanguard of ‘next-gen’ COOs, those who maintain a tech-focused outlook and holistic (non-siloed) team structures, Kimmel combines this with his outsider experience gained from working as a consultant. Having gained a solid understanding of what good performance means in a banking context, he is determined to achieve nothing short of the finest results for a bank in the Middle East. When considering how these outcomes will be achieved at CBD, Kimmel emphasises that technological advances will be crucial, although not, perhaps, in the way that many people think. “There's always a lot of talk about everything that’s going on in the market. However, I'd say, in recent years, technology has been far more ‘evolutionary’ than ‘disruptive’,” that is to say: it has been optimising the status quo rather than creating new paradigms entirely. 

Part of the reason for this lies in banking’s status as a highly regulated industry, but the other is a direct result of a core technology: cloud. “If you look at the big platform providers - Google, Amazon, Microsoft, etc - the number of capabilities they've integrated into their cloud platforms is mind-boggling,” continues Kimmel. “Regardless of whether it was AI (artificial intelligence), DevOps, or any other cutting-edge technology, it would have previously taken large investments spread over several years to develop. Now, everything is an API (application programming interface) and you can just plug it in; you're not stuck with a 10-year-old infrastructure, you can literally just switch one API for another.”

Read the Commercial Bank of Dubai story in the brochure 

Share
Share
Author

Featured Interviews

Featured

Wojciech Lacz

Chief Information Officer at AccorInvest

Spearheaded by Group Chief Information Officer Wojciech Lacz, a digital transformation has taken place at AccorInvest, and the entire company is in on it

Read More

Scott Sanborn

CEO of LendingClub

LendingClub is disrupting the customer experience through its innovative digital marketplace bank, says CEO, Scott Sanborn

Read More
Consumers now see banking as a thing you do, not a place you go, and they are increasingly saying that the strength of the mobile experience is what should be the driver of choice
Scott Sanborn
CEO of LendingClub

Steven Meek

CIO of Pepper Money

Pepper Money's rise over the last 22 years is underpinned by its partnership with low-code platform Appian, plus its adoption of automation technologies

Read More

Varun Krishnan

Managing Director for FinTech

Vodafone’s Varun Krishnan reflects on his time at the company and shares his excitement to be part of the company’s journey in the FinTech space

Read More

Tony Gaidhane

Vice President in Booz Allen's commercial business

Tony Gaidhane, Vice President in Booz Allen’s commercial business, tells us more

Read More

Wojciech Lacz

Chief Information Officer at AccorInvest

Spearheaded by Group Chief Information Officer Wojciech Lacz, a digital transformation has taken place at AccorInvest, and the entire company is in on it

Read More