Malaysia-based KAF Investment Bank, which has been awarded a digital banking license last month, announced on Tuesday the appointment of Cradle Fund‘s outgoing Chief Executive Officer Rafiza Ghazali as the CEO designate in leading its digital Islamic bank.

Rafiza will initially be joining KAF Investment Bank as part of the digital bank project team pending the incorporation process of the digital bank entity, KAF Investment Bank said in a statement on Tuesday.

The consortium led by KAF Investment Bank is one of the five successful applicants to win the bids for the digital banking licenses in Malaysia. The consortium will be licensed under the Islamic Financial Services Act 2013 (IFSA).
Other members of the consortium include Malaysia-headquartered used car platform Carsome, two FinTech firms Jirnexu and MoneyMatch.

“We are pleased to have Rafiza to head our digital banking leadership team given her wealth of experience in both the private and public sectors. Her extensive foundation in banking as well as her involvement in innovation, particularly with the Malaysian FinTech community, will be a huge asset in the building of KAF’s digital banking partnership platform,” KAF Investment Bank Deputy Chief Executive Officer Thariq Usman Ahmad said.

Rafiza’s experience spans significantly across the financial industry from Danaharta to RHB Investment Bank, where she oversaw information technology, investment operations, corporate planning, finance, and treasury settlement.

She also served with central bank Bank Negara Malaysia, Thomson Reuters and Cagamas before her present role as Group CEO of Cradle Fund Sdn Bhd, where she was instrumental in leading its transformation into a startup ecosystem builder and the agency responsible for managing the development of the Malaysian Startup Ecosystem Roadmap, KAF said. Cradle Fund is an early-stage startups venture fund owned by the Malaysian government.

Rafiza’s appointment also came after Cradle Fund announced on Monday that she will step down as Group CEO and relinquish her role with effect from May 31 to pursue other opportunities.

In the interim, the board has appointed Cradle’s Senior Vice President of Corporate Services, Norman Matthieu Vanhaecke as Acting Group CEO, Cradle Fund said in a statement. The appointment is effective June 1 until a permanent replacement is confirmed.

Rafiza has been instrumental in expanding the mandate for Cradle beyond providing grants, to it now taking a leading role as the start-up ecosystem builder via the MYStartup Strategy.

During her tenure, Cradle was designated the focal point for the Malaysian Start-up Ecosystem and as the coordinating agency for the Malaysian Startup Ecosystem Roadmap 2021-2030 (SUPER).

Cradle Fund is Malaysia’s early stage start-up influencer, incorporated under the Ministry of Finance Malaysia in 2003 with a mandate to fund potential and high-calibre tech start-ups through its Cradle Investment Program. Cradle Fund is presently administered by Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation (MOSTI)

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