Our senior team in Europe
Meet our regional leaders:
Russell is a Managing Director of Finalta, responsible for overseeing its global expansion and managing client relationships with a number of leading European financial organizations.
In recent years, Russell established Finalta's services in Latin America and North America, and was previously a Finalta Director in Europe serving UK, Nordic, Hungarian, and Romanian banks.
Prior to joining Finalta, Russell held a number of prominent positions in Barclays Retail Bank where he gained deep industry insight into digital sales and service, branch network sales productivity, and affluent customer segment management. Before joining Barclays, he was a management consultant in the retail banking team at Ernst and Young.
Russell holds a First Class BSc with Honours in Management Science with American Business Studies from Manchester University.
Danas is part of the senior management team at Finalta and is a Director responsible for leading the benchmarking in Central & Eastern Europe and Russia with the teams across both, London and Budapest offices. Danas is a trusted strategy advisor to many of his regional banking clients and his key areas of expertise include Retail and Corporate Banking productivity and digital transformation topics.
With over 18 years of banking and retail financial services experience, Danas joined Finalta in 2012 from American Express where he spent ten years in strategy, finance and business development roles, working with leading financial institutions across Europe.
Danas holds an MBA in Finance from the Carlson School of Management, USA, and an MSc in Economics Banking from Vilnius University, Lithuania.
David is a Managing Director of Finalta, and is responsible for managing client relationships with a number of leading European financial organizations.
Since 2000, David has been providing benchmarking and advisory services to financial institutions. Prior to joining Finalta in 2011, David spent over ten years at eBenchmarkers, holding a number of prominent positions including Managing Director.
During his career, David has advised a wide range of banks and insurance companies and developed new benchmarking services in numerous markets. He has detailed knowledge of distribution strategy in both personal and business banking as well as expertise in marketing, product design and customer experience. David has also advised numerous insurance companies in the fields of distribution strategy, customer acquisition and claims strategy.
David holds an MA in Economics & Management from Oxford University.
Dmitry is a Director at Finalta and part of the senior leadership team. He is responsible for managing relationships, developing business and delivering benchmarks to banking clients in Eastern Europe.
Prior to joining Finalta, Dmitry helped develop strategy for VTB, Russia’s second largest bank, leading work ranging from market forecasting and long-term financial modelling to business model definition and performance management across products, channels and customer segments. More recently, he specialized in launching our big data benchmarks in CRM and Costs and adapting existing retail, corporate and digital work to changing client needs.
Dmitry holds an MBA with distinction from INSEAD in France / Singapore and a degree in Banking from the Financial Academy in Moscow, Russia.
Firas is a Director of Finalta, based in the Dubai office. He is responsible for managing relationships, developing business and delivering benchmarks to financial institutions in the Middle East region.
Prior to joining Finalta, Firas spent over 15 years with leading financial institutions in the Middle East including Arab Bank, Emirates NBD, National Bank of Abu Dhabi and Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank where he gained deep industry knowledge and insights into branch sales productivity, digital sales and services, Retail and Corporate Banking segments.
Firas holds an MA in International Business from Berlin University of Applied sciences.
Jens is a Director of Finalta and is responsible for managing client relationships, growing and developing peer groups, and leading our development into Telecoms.
He is an award-winning business unit leader in telecoms, mobile and digital services with international product, sales and marketing expertise. He conceived, implemented and launched digital services revenues driving significant mobile transaction volumes. His professional experience includes profit centre management, mobile Internet & mobile broadband rollout, mobile apps development, category management, marketing strategy, business development, as well as global alliances & partnerships.
Jens is fluent in English, German, French and Spanish. He holds an MSc. (computer science) from University of Saarland and an MBA from INSEAD.
Kristian is an Director of Finalta and part of the senior leadership team. He is responsible for managing relationships, developing business, and delivering benchmarks to insurance and retail banking clients in Western Europe.
An expert in digital banking and insurance claims & underwriting, Kristian joined Finalta with extensive experience in financial services consulting and startup e-businesses. Whilst at Accenture and Distinct Consulting, he spent 10 years working with leading retail, wealth, and investment banks and personal and commercial insurers, developing and implementing strategic and operational strategies. More recently, he specialized in developing insights from complex data. Kristian also set up a web technology business and was responsible for all commercial and operational aspects of the business.
Kristian holds a degree in Mechanical, Materials and Manufacturing Engineering and German from the University of Nottingham, UK.
Nicolas is a Director of Finalta, and is responsible for developing and managing client relationships across German speaking countries and the Nordics. He is a member of the senior management team and is based in London.
Nicolas has extensive experience advising financial institutions and working with them to deliver change. After university, he spent a decade in strategic consulting with Roland Berger and Booz Allen, where he served consumer driven clients across multiple industries and geographies. In 2006 he accepted a role in banking and has worked for Royal Bank of Scotland, American Express and HSBC. As a part of the divisional leadership teams, he had a pan-regional focus on defining and delivering strategic and tactical improvements programmes in the retail and affluent consumer banking segments.
Nicolas studied at the European Business School in London, Paris and Frankfurt and was Dean's listed during his MBA from Columbia University in New York.
Simone is the Director managing our South Europe and Mediterranean region and a trusted advisor to many financial institutions in the region.
Prior to joining Finalta, Simone gained extensive experience in retail financial services as a management consultant at Roland Berger and Deloitte UK and he also held a number of management positions at American Express and MasterCard. Key roles included leading pricing and interchange across European countries for MasterCard and launching ‘Business Insights’ at American Express - an analytical offering that merchants leverage to reveal insights about their customers, strengthen their competitive position, and improve the return on their marketing initiatives.
Simone holds an MBA from INSEAD and a degree in Business Administration and Finance from Università Bocconi, Italy.
Tim is a Director of Finalta and is responsible for managing client relationships with a number of leading European financial organizations. Tim also helped launch Finalta's client work in Asia Pacific, leading Finalta's first benchmark in the region.
A recognised industry expert in multichannel and digital banking, Tim joined the Finalta team from eBenchmarkers where he spent nine years delivering strategic insights to leading UK banks and financial service providers, assisting the development and implementation of their channel and product strategies. In his most recent role as Head of Banking, he was responsible for leading the development and delivery of branch, telephone, and digital banking benchmarks across personal and SME banking, launching innovative monthly tracking studies, and delivering year-on-year growth despite the challenging market conditions.
Tim brings in-depth knowledge and understanding of the drivers of success in delivering an optimal distribution mix, including the latest trends in mobile banking, online marketing, and sales-from-service across channels.
Adam is an Associate Director of Finalta and responsible for managing client relationships, business development and delivering benchmarks to insurance clients in the UK and Western Europe.
Prior to joining Finalta, Adam spent his early career working in finance and operational roles in shipping, retail and marketing businesses before joining Direct Line Group (formerly RBS insurance) where he had several different roles within Finance, Risk and Management functions across numerous business units.
Most recently Adam was a Director at McLagan, part of the Aon Group, where he spent 3 years benchmarking the cost efficiency and operational effectiveness of global insurance businesses operating in the UK and Europe.
Adam is an Associate of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants.
Alex is an Associate Director at Finalta, based in the London office. He is responsible for managing client relationships, business development and delivering benchmarks in Russia and CIS and other European markets.
Prior to joining Finalta, Alex worked as a management consultant at Bain & Company with primary focus on financial services, digital and customer experience, and as a customer strategy team leader at Wayfair. Before that, Alex gained extensive experience in banking at HSBC, ABN AMRO/RBS and Russian Standard Bank focusing on multiple customer and product segments in Russia, CIS and CEE markets.
Alex holds an MBA from the London Business School and an undergraduate degree in international economics from the Russian Foreign Trade Academy, Moscow.
Anna is an Associate Director of Finalta. She is overseeing delivery of best-practice insights and benchmarking studies to banks. In her role, Anna is also managing client relationships and business development in Europe.
With over ten years of experience in delivery, management consulting, banking and technology, Anna has an extensive knowledge on the financial services and FinTech. She has a solid track record delivering actionable and pragmatic advice to the leading financial organisations. Prior to joining Finalta, she was a Director at GreySpark Partners where she set up and managed Capital Markets Intelligence practice, providing top tier investment banks with strategic insights and thought leadership. Prior to that, she worked for Boston Consulting Group where she focused on universal banks.
Anna studied Mathematics at Jagiellonian University and Leadership & Management at the Open University. She brings solid analytical skills paired with a practical perspective to provide clients with a fact-based advice.
Azamat is an Associate Director at Finalta, based in the London office.
He is responsible for overseeing banking client relationships and delivering benchmarking insights, predominantly covering Central Europe and Russia. Azamat has significant experience in multiple banking segments and functions, in particular digital banking and sales effectiveness across personal and small business customer segments.
Prior to Finalta, Azamat worked at ABN AMRO, RBS, and HSBC in Kazakhstan building his expertise in banking, with particular focus on sales of consumer finance products.
Azamat holds an MBA from Duke University, USA, and a bachelor’s degree from Kazakh Institute of Management, Economics and Strategic Research.
Ben is an Associate Director of Finalta and is responsible for managing client relationships, developing business and delivering benchmarks to financial institutions in the Middle East and in select European markets. He has extensive experience across banking segments and functions, with a strong focus on digital banking and customer experience.
Prior to joining Finalta, Ben served a range of leading European financial institutions as part of the strategy function in Accenture. He has also spent several years with one of the largest UK banks where he obtained a detailed insight into bank processes and operations.
Ben holds a BEng in Integrated Mechanical Engineering from the University of Nottingham, UK.
Sarah is an Associate Director of Finalta, based in the London office. She is responsible for managing client relationships, business development and delivering benchmarks to financial institutions in the UK and Western Europe. She has extensive experience across banking segments and functions, with a strong focus on branch and digital banking.
Prior to joining Finalta, Sarah worked for five years at another global benchmarking company - Retail Banking Research (RBR) - building her expertise in banking, with a particular specialism in self-service technology and payment cards. Whilst at RBR, she managed client relationships across Brazil, China, France, Portugal and Eastern Europe.
Sarah holds a degree in French and Portuguese from the University of Nottingham, UK. She also spent a year studying Mandarin at Beijing Foreign Studies University as part of the Chinese Government's Confucius Scholarship Programme.
Valeria van Zijl
Valeria is an Associate Director at Finalta and is responsible for managing client relationships, business development and delivering benchmarks in Central and Eastern Europe.
Prior to joining Finalta, Valeria held a number of positions with HSBC in the UK and Europe, including roles as Branch Manager and Proposition Manager. Valeria led several strategic initiatives for the retail bank looking into service measurement, key process improvement, and frontline reward, and is an alumna of HSBC’s prestigious International Manager programme.
Valeria graduated from Columbia University in New York with a Bachelor’s degree in Economics and History with Magna cum laude. She also holds a Master’s degree in International Relations awarded jointly by Columbia University and Sciences Po in Paris.
Director of McKinsey and Chairman of Finalta
Stephanie is a Senior Partner of McKinsey & Company as well as Chairman of Finalta. She joined the firm in 1999 in Munich, moving to Dubai in 2002 and London in 2005 and has worked across Europe on a broad range of financial institutions related topics including strategy, digital, sales, cost and functional programs, such as organisation and large-scale transformations.
Stephanie leads the Financial Services practice in the UK and co-leads Retail Banking in Europe.