OCBC has hired veteran technologist Imran Zaffar as head of agile transformation. Zaffar has relocated from Dubai, where he worked for four years at McKinsey as a VP for digital, “leading agile and cultural transformations in the Middle East and beyond”, according to his LinkedIn profile.
Zaffar, who began his career as an IT project manager in 2002, worked as a data lineage lead for HSBC in London before McKinsey.
People with digital transformation expertise (of which agile transformation is a sub-set) are in strong demand in the banking sector in Singapore and globally as established financial institutions boost their tech budgets and look to innovate in the face of competition from fintechs. HSBC wants to “digitise at scale” as a core pillar of its new strategy, for example.
But there’s a limited talent pool of people with the necessary combination of business expertise and technical knowledge to fill transformation roles, meaning that banks often try to poach people like Zaffar from consultancies. Last year, for example, London-based Jibran Ahmed joined HSBC from Capco as a managing director in strategic digital transformation.
However, as we’ve reported, banks can find it hard to retain their digital transformation specialists, who complain that they’re hindered by bureaucracy and are sidelined by existing business owners.
In Singapore, digital transformation jobs are dominated by firms that make all or some of their global strategic decisions out of the city state – most notably Standard Chartered, DBS, OCBC, and UOB, which often poach from each other as well as from consultancies. Stan Chart has been a particularly active recruiter over the past couple of years, with hires such as Christine Johnson as global head of enterprise agility.
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