News

Veon recruits ex BNP Paribas and Facebook exec to lead new ventures division

Sergi Herrero Veon.jpg

Veon has created a new digital ventures division and recruited a Facebook payments executive to lead it.

Sergi Herrero (pictured), the global director of payments and commerce partnerships at Facebook, will become chief operations officer of Veon Ventures from 1 September.

Veon chair and CEO Ursula Burns said: “Sergi brings a wealth of experience and success from the world’s largest social network and his appointment is a sign of Veon’s intent with new revenue streams across our operating footprint.”

However, she didn’t give many clues about what those new revenue streams might be. It is just the latest of a number of senior staff changes Burns has made since she became CEO as well as chair last December. In February 2019 she appointed ex bankerAlex Kazbegi as chief strategy officer to drive the company’s growth strategy.

At Facebook, Herrero looked after the launch and growth of payment and commerce capabilities for Messenger, WhatsApp and Instagram, allowing the Facebook group to compete with WeChat, the service that is widely used for payments in China. He also led the deployment of charitable giving and the scaling and optimisation of the Facebook Ads payments business, and drove the expansion of the platform’s global marketplace. 

Herrero said: “Veon operates in some of the world’s most dynamic countries with relatively low smartphone ownership and young, growing populations who are increasingly demanding more digital services. This is clearly a commercial opportunity that Veon is well placed to capture.”

He studied electrical engineering and then did a master’s in telecommunications management at Spain’s Ramon Llull University, before heading off to California.

His LinkedIn profile shows that Herrero spent more than five years working in San Francisco for l’Atelier BNP Paribas, the ventures side of the French bank.

L’Atelier BNP Paribas says on its website: “We explore digital societies and analyse emerging technology in an effort to discover the next digital, the next IoT, the next social media. We’ll be launching a new immersive technologies project very soon.”

Herrero was also BNP Paribas’s vice president for mobile financial services and business development, until he left the group in April 2014.

He joined Facebook as growth and relationships manager for Latin America in June 2014 and became global director of payments and commerce three years ago.