Meet Kuda's two new C-level executives—Pavel Khristolubov (COO) and Elena Lavezzi (CSO)

After blitzscaling in Nigeria, Kuda bank is looking to replicate its success in other international markets. The London-based startup has hired a new COO and a CSO to secure its expansion.

L-R: Pavel Khristolubov and Elena Lavezzi
L-R: Pavel Khristolubov (COO, Kuda) and Elena Lavezzi (Chief Strategy Officer, Kuda)

Kuda bank, the leading digital bank in Nigeria has hired two new C-level executives to support its expansion plans in Africa.

Founded in 2019 and headquartered in London, Kuda has raised a combined $91.6 million in four major institutional rounds (pre-Seed, Seed, Series A, and Series B). Armed with such capital, they have blitzscaled to over 2 million users in less than four years.

As of June 1, 2022, the Kuda android app was the most downloaded digital banking app in Nigeria. Source: AfriDigest

As Kuda looks to expand internationally, they have restructured their management team. Former Advisor and Global COO, Ryan Laubscher has moved into the role of Global Chief Expansion Officer, and the newly-appointed Pavel Khristolubov has taken over as the Global COO. On the other hand, Elena Lavezzi has joined Kuda as its Chief Strategy Officer—which looks like a new role. The role closest to it was the Head of Strategy role held by Karl Götte.

Nonetheless, today is about Pavel and Elena, so let's find out more about them.

Related Article: Why is Kuda Bank charging stamp duties?

Meet Pavel Khrustolubov, Kuda Bank's new COO

Pavel Khristolubov is joining Kuda Technologies Limited from the Tinkoff Bank, a commercial bank in Eastern Europe. At Tinkoff Bank he was responsible for managing the efficiency of the workforce both on product development teams and operational platforms.

During his tenure as COO, the bank’s client base grew from 7 million to 22 million active clients. His focus was to keep quality and cost levels under control and implement the required processes and approaches to scale product and operations teams to meet the challenges of growth.

Before his work experience at Tinkoff Bank, he served as a member of the executive team of DXC Luxoft, a software development company. He supported the company’s growth from the start to a global player of 20,000 engineers working across 20 countries and locations of the world.

Speaking on his appointment at Kuda Technologies, the new COO, Pavel Khristolubov said he is excited to join the management team and is looking forward to making his contributions towards the achievement of the overall corporate goals.

“When investors from Target Global introduced me to the co-Founder of Kuda, Babs Ogundeyi, I learned a story of an ambitious business enterprise, driven by very humane and people-centric values. I believe in the mission of the company and hope my experience and efforts will help it along the way to the realisation of our goals,” Khristolubov said.

Meet Elena Lavezzi, Kuda Bank's Chief Strategy Officer

Elena Lavezzi, an Italian, also brings with her, vast experience garnered over the years from reputable fintech companies including Circle. At the global firm which is at the forefront of digital currency innovation, she rose to the position of Director, Go-To-Market Retail Europe.

More recently, Lavezzi led the Southern European region at Revolut for three years, overseeing the growth, business development and marketing before shifting her focus to regulatory matters last year.

Lavezzi had earlier worked at Uber where she served as Marketing Manager for four years. She helped Uber launch in the Italian market before moving on to support the growth of the Indian market.

In her remarks, Lavezzi, informed that she is fascinated by the amazing team that drives the corporate goals as well as Kuda’s offering. “The team is amazing. All the people I have met are very talented and have a clear vision of what they want to build. Kuda is building a strong product, providing financial services through its apps and allowing millions of people with internet access to operate a spending account, access instant credit, save money automatically and earn annual interest without the burden of traditional bank charges,” Lavezzi stated.

Talking about the expansion plans of the company, Lavezzi added: “Kuda is well recognised in the African market, and has very ambitious expansion plans for the next few months. Backed by top-tier venture capitalists like Target Global and Valar that have over a decade of experience in partnering with the most visionary founders across different industries around the world, I believe Kuda has all the ingredients to become a fintech leader in Africa.

Editor-at-Large, Benjamin Dada contributed to this report.

Get weekly insights on tech startups and VC in Africa