January 30, 2020 / 9:35 AM / a month ago

Nordea names Virgin Money's Ian Smith as new CFO

(Reuters) - Nordea (NDAFI.HE) has hired Virgin Money UK’s (VMUK.L) Ian Smith as finance chief to help its new CEO Frank Vang-Jensen turn around flagging profits at one of the Nordic region’s biggest banks.

FILE PHOTO: Nordea bank sign is seen in Copenhagen, Denmark October 22, 2019. REUTERS/Andreas Mortensen/File Photo

Fellow Briton Christopher Rees quit as Nordea’s chief financial officer (CFO) in September and plans to return to the UK to pursue other opportunities.

Nordea confirmed it had appointed Smith, subject to regulatory approval, after Virgin Money announced his resignation.

“With his background and experience in the financial services sector focused on finance, treasury, business planning, cost management and M&A he is the ideal CFO for Nordea,” Vang-Jensen said in a statement.

Smith helped lead the British bank, previously named CYBG, through the 2018 takeover of Virgin Money, which catapulted it to sixth spot among British lenders.

Virgin Money is counting on a rebrand using the high-profile brand of Richard Branson’s Virgin empire will help it challenge larger rivals such as Lloyds (LLOY.L).

The owner of Clydesdale and Yorkshire banks said Smith, who took over as the finance head in 2014, will remain in his role to support an orderly transition until after the company's interim results. (reut.rs/2GMsRnv)

“While it was a very difficult decision, I have been given a great opportunity to build the next stage of my career overseas,” Smith said in a statement.

Virgin Money this week reported a bigger business loan book for the first quarter as sentiment improved after Prime Minister Boris Johnson won a parliamentary majority in December.

But Virgin Money still warned that the banking industry faced uncertainty over the terms on which Britain will trade with the European Union after Brexit.

Reporting by Muvija M in Bengaluru and Iain Withers in London; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta, Subhranshu Sahu and Alexander Smith

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