The Berlin Solarisbank intends to go public and open up new markets this year – this should succeed with new top managers. Our graphic shows who is standing next to CEO Roland Folz.
Solarisbank wants to open 20 million online accounts in the medium term. In order to achieve the goal, the Berlin fintech recently hired new top managers.
Roland Folz, CEO of the Berlin banking platform Solarisbank, wants to grow. Grow very fast. He is doing everything he can to not only list the fintech on the stock exchange this year, but also to promote international expansion. The bank is already active in the four largest financial markets in Europe – Germany, France, Italy and Spain. The takeover of British competitor Contis has also enabled companies to carry out transactions in Great Britain. The fintech with a full banking license is constantly gaining new customers: According to Solarisbank, it opened one million new online accounts last year, increasing the number of end customer accounts to over five million. Their medium-term goal: Over 20 million accounts across Europe.
For the financial regulator Bafin, this is happening much too quickly. She is increasingly critical of the neobank, which handles services for other companies and fintechs. In March, for example, the authorities ordered Solarisbank to hold more equity due to deficiencies in the business organization.
More women in the management team
As a "basis for our next growth phase", as managing director Roland Folz emphasizes, he has also been reorganizing his management team since the beginning of April. While previously four business units took over strategic management, there will now be a country-oriented sales organization that will build up the central product and tech platform. To this end, the bank is appointing general managers for the local markets in Germany, France, Spain and Italy – as was previously the case with N26 in its expansion process. It is also noticeable that Solarisbank has recently started to have a balanced ratio of men and women in the management team.
Chloé Mayenobe from France, for example, has taken up the first female senior position at Solarisbank since March 1 – as Chief Growth Officer. Previously, Mayenobe was an executive in various companies in the payments industry, her most recent position being Vice President of fintech Natixis Payments, which is a subsidiary of French investment bank Natixis and belongs to major Parisian bank BPCE. Mayenobe worked as a manager at the payment service provider Ingenico for around twelve years, initially as Vice President in Risk Management, until she was Managing Director responsible for the development and sale of payment solutions in the EMEA region (34 countries). Solarisbank now wants to benefit from their international experience and use them for their expansion plans. It is also planned to make the 45-year-old member of the board in the second half of the year – provided that the Bafin agrees.
Delia König is new to the C-Level. The 28-year-old was previously the head of the identity unit and was therefore responsible for the authentication and digital onboarding of private and business customers. From now on she takes over the role of Chief Product Officer from Jörg Howein. Her rapid success caused a stir in the fintech industry: In 2019, Forbes magazine included König in the list of the 30 youngest executives in the finance category.
She herself is committed to various management teams and emphasized to the financial scene that the industry must also promote talents with atypical careers in order to increase the proportion of women. This is not the case for König – she opted for the classic career path, studied business informatics in Münster before specializing in financial services in her master’s degree. Before she started at Solarisbank, König already founded her own startup: a company that develops compliance solutions, but has since been discontinued.
Former CPO Jörg Howein, who is Koenig's superior, will be given command of the central production platform as Chief Platform Officer. It is interesting that the career paths of Howein and König may have crossed before they came to Solarisbank. Both worked as IT consultants at the consulting company Zeb in Münster – Howein headed the digital financial services department there, among other things.
Most powerful managers next to Folz: Diewald and Rasser keep posts
About four years ago, Managing Director Folz brought the experienced bank manager Jörg Diewald to Solarisbank as Chief Commercial Officer – and that's not going to change anytime soon. Diewald had previously taken on the role of CCO at the French cooperative bank Crédit Mutuel and GE Capital, the finance division of the US conglomerate General Electric. In addition, Diewald is the owner of his own asset management company JJK Asset, which invests money for private clients in startups, SMEs and fintechs. The bank manager has been a member of the supervisory board of the Cologne hotel chain Dorint for twelve years.
Thomas Rasser will also retain his position as chief accountant at Solarisbank. The Chief Financial Officer was a part of Finleap's Advisory Board and has worked for more than a decade at Dutch corporate bank NIBC Bank NV, part of US investment firm Blackstone, as a manager and board member. He will be joined by former Barcleys finance director Tim Spurr.
These two manager positions are also unaffected by the personnel restructuring: Software engineer Hima Mandali, who was already a senior tech developer for the US bank Capital One, remains Chief Technology Officer at Solarisbank. Likewise, former McKinsey consultant Daniel Seifert continues to serve as Chief Operating Officer.
Sofort co-founder appointed head of Germany
Last year, Solarisbank appointed so-called country managers for its external locations in Paris, Madrid and Milan: Jean-Francois Guillaumin, Fransico Jamarillo and Michael Köhler – although the latter seems to have resigned from his post in October 2021, according to LinkedIn. What is new is that Germany is now also getting its own boss.
With Jens Lütcke, Folz fills the position with a pioneer of online payment services: In 2005, the doctor of law co-founded the Bavarian online payment system Sofortüberweisung and built up the startup until it was bought by Swedish competitor Klarna in 2014 for the equivalent of 137 million euros. Lütcke then moved into Klarna's management floor and managed the DACH region for a few years. Most recently, he worked as Vice CEO at the Swiss payment app Bluecode.
Since the takeover of Contis, it has actually been overdue for the management team at Solarisbank to be renewed and for new positions to be created. Ultimately, both systems should merge with each other in the long term. Lee Johnstone is therefore taking over the management of the subsidiary as Managing Director. Previously, he managed the finances at Contis.
Diversity as a new sign?
Layla Qassim, who took a rather unusual path into the fintech industry, will be Roland Folz's new chief of staff. The manager is a social anthropologist by training and studied ancient history during her studies. Through an internship at the US investment bank Jefferies, Qassim made the leap into finance as an equity analyst. She worked for the New York brokerage firm BTIG for five years, where she rose to become vice president. Quassim has been working for Solarisbank since 2019. It is now your job to advise the Group CEO on decisions and also to promote the integration of Solarisbank and Contis.
With the newly filled management positions, Folz not only wants to implement his growth plans more quickly, but also give the company a new look – as an inclusive, diverse company. It is also fitting that the bank has now founded its own women's network Futura in order to literally "eliminate gender inequality in the fintech industry".