ING has appointed Benoit Legrand to the newly-created role of head of fintech, charging him with developing a strategy for how the bank deals with financial technology firms.
Benoit, who is currently CEO of ING France, takes up the role in October, reporting to chief innovation officer Brunon Bartkiewicz.
Faced with a wave of fintech firms that present both a threat and opportunity, banks have been busily formulating strategies on how to respond. A recent report co-authored by Santander called on banks and fintechs to collaborate in order to realise the potential for a 'Fintech 2.0' revolution.
Many FS giants are already setting up accelerator programmes and establishing venture funds to invest in the most promising startups. However, ING appears to have set a precedent by tasking a senior executive with the role of point man for dealing with the fintech world.
Benoit joined ING in 1994, although he did take one break to try his hand for a year in the startup world as a founding partner of an office supply firm, enabling him to boast on LinkedIn of "(Un-)succesful Start-up experience".
In a brief statement, the bank says that the move "illustrates ING’s determination to accelerate its innovation programme. Innovation is one of the key elements of the bank’s Think Forward Strategy."
Benoit is replaced at ING France by Karien van Gennip, previously director of private banking and investments, ING Netherlands.