payments startup Ripple has added new director to its , Yoshitaka Kitao, who is currently president, representative director and CEO of Japanese financial giant Holdings.

Ripple announced the news last week, saying that Kitao will be replacing the CEO of SBI Ripple Asia Takashi Okita.

Kitao has over 40 of work experience in global financial markets. He established SBI Holdings in 1999 and has previously worked with Softbank Corporation and Nomura Securities, according to the announcement.

Ripple co-founder and executive chairman of the ’s board of directors, Chris Larsen, said:

“Approximately half of our customers are located in Asia-Pac today, and we’re rapidly expanding our global footprint across the region. Mr. Kitao comes at a perfect time for Ripple as we look to deepen our customer base in Asia and beyond.”

The relationship between Ripple and SBI is not new. Back in 2016, the two firms formed a joint venture called SBI Ripple Asia. The joint venture received a license to launch its blockchain-based payments app for consumers last September, and a month later the app MoneyTap went live.

SBI Ripple Asia also formed a consortium last year to research the use of blockchain in securities products, aiming to improve efficiency for customers and reduce operational costs for firms.

In other news, Saudi British Bank (SABB) announced Thursday that is has launched “instant” cross-border transfer services via Ripple to improve customer experience. SBI, on the other hand, recently established a new subsidiary to manufacture mining chips and systems.

Ripple logo image via Shutterstock 

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