A man who’s spent his career at four global technology firms is now helping OCBC to reshape its tech strategy. Keisuke Fujimoto has joined the bank from Expedia as head of ecosystems, a senior strategy role focused on developing relationships with fintech firms and creating new products for customers. Fujimoto and his team will “build new business concepts, and identify industry, consumer and technology trends,” says a spokesperson for OCBC.
Ecosystems jobs typically also involve enhancing the way banks and their fintech partners use APIs (application programming interfaces, which allow services from one firm to connect with those of another) to exchange data.
Fujimoto, who has now relocated from Tokyo to Singapore, spent almost four years at Expedia in Japan, latterly as head of partnerships for Asia. His experience building relationships with the travel company’s partners is likely to be valuable at OCBC, which is increasingly teaming up with fintech firms via its Open Vault innovation lab.
Fujimoto’s move runs counter to the recent trend of senior bankers and technologists in Singapore leaving the finance sector to join large tech firms such as Alibaba, Amazon, Google and Grab. Although tech-firm-to-banking recruitment is still relatively rare in Singapore (many developers prefer the relaxed office culture and agile working practices of pure-play tech companies), Fujimoto’s appointment is proof that these hires do sometimes take place. In January, for example, DBS poached Charlie Cheng from Google in an MD-level cloud-focused role.
OCBC certainly wants to bring more people like Fujimoto on board. The firm is trying to hire from outside of finance to overcome local talent shortages, Pranav Seth, head of e-business, told us previously. And while government employment pass regulations are making it more difficult for junior technologists to move to Singapore from overseas, this is not the case at a senior level.
Fujimoto is not the only senior person to have joined OCBC in a tech-leadership role recently. As we reported in January, Reuben Wakeley has moved from EY as head of the Open Vault lab.
The bank has also been hiring more rank-and-file technologists. OCBC’s overall headcount went up by 532 last year, driven partly by “technology and digital investments”, according to its earnings report. OCBC has about 70 Singapore-based tech and digital vacancies on its careers site.
Fujimoto, who has a BSc in Computer Science, began his career at SAS in 1999 and moved to Amazon in 2002, where he spent four years as a Tokyo-based technical product manager, according to his public profile. After a brief stint at Yahoo!, Fujimoto worked for Amazon again from 2007 to 2014, latterly as a business development manager in corporate planning. He joined Expedia in June 2014.
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