Ozone API announces key senior hires to lead MENA growth and enhance infrastructure security

Open finance software leader now operates seven international hubs in key regions across the world and powers the open finance infrastructure of more than 60 banks and institutions

1, February 2023, LondonOzone API, developer of the leading standards-based software for open finance, has expanded its international team with two senior hires who will work to drive expansion in the MENA region and lead a renewed focus on security in 2023.

The pioneering founders of Ozone API led the development of the world’s first Open Banking Standard, which became a blueprint that provided the foundation for ecosystems across the world. The Ozone API software is also powering open banking and open finance for 60 banks and financial institutions, with seven hubs now deployed in key regions around the world.

Nihal Abughattas joins as General Manager for MENA. She will be responsible for shaping corporate and go-to-market strategy for Ozone API in the region, driving business growth and building strategic partnerships.

Chris Austin joins as Chief Information Security Officer (CISO). He will be responsible for further enhancing the security of systems, policies and processes as Ozone API extends its global footprint.

MENA expansion

Ozone API’s mission has always been to accelerate open banking and open finance. The MENA region already has a vibrant open finance landscape and that is set to continue to develop across more markets in the region and ultimately beyond open finance. For a period of time, it has been a key focus due to the readiness of both regulators and financial institutions and we’re excited to further build our strength in the region.

Ozone API is now working to support banks and regulators with their open banking agendas. Bringing the expertise and proven technology that takes away the significant complexity of developing and implementing standards, ensuring compliance and providing the foundation for banks and the countries’ financial services ecosystems to thrive and deliver new banking business models.

It will focus on working closely with strategic partners to provide global expertise, a scalable platform and the operational support needed to grow the adoption of open banking and open finance in MENA.

Niha Abughattas, General Manager for MENA, has 20 years of experience in startups, including Fawry, the first regional fintech unicorn, and established companies such as Temenos, a world leader in banking software. She has worked at the International Finance Corporation, a member of the World Bank Group, and holds two prestigious positions in the region as a founding board member of the MENA Fintech Association and a member of the Arab Monetary Fund’s Regional Fintech Working Group.

Nihal said: “I am equally interested in and excited about the new opportunities created by open finance – the new business models, the evolving role of various participants and the added value it brings to customers, new entrants and incumbents. There is no better time to get involved, particularly by being part of the team at Ozone API, which continues to help shape the future of financial services across the world.”

Cybersecurity in 2023

Ozone API will spend the next year further extending its commitment to developing and operating highly secure open API infrastructure on behalf of global financial service firms. Continued investment into observability and automation is crucial as the number of customer deployments around the globe continues to grow and to protect against the ever changing threat landscape.

Chris Austin, Ozone API’s new CISO, will be responsible for InfoSec across the organisation, managing both risk and governance. He will oversee all aspects of security, such as ensuring staff and customer access to resources is well governed and continuously improving the monitoring, logging, reporting and alerting of Ozone API’s global infrastructure.

Chris has a background in architecting in the public cloud, with years of experience in achieving standards compliance and building secure environments. His most recent post was Senior Change Delivery Manager at Account Technologies, a regulated financial services firm with 250 employees, £100m in revenue, and more than 500,000 customers in the UK.

Chris said: “I have been an active participant in the open banking ecosystem as a TPP for the last three years, so it’s exciting to move to the other side of the equation. As a technologist at heart, I am thrilled to be joining a dynamic company on the cutting edge of open finance around the world.”

Find out more about the Ozone API team.

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