Fast, hard and polite, describe subordinates Timo Ritakallio

The President and CEO of the OP Bank Group is a socially talented and determined hard worker who does not find much cracks.

“Native to the family where the father was the bank manager. ”

This is how the President and CEO of the OP Bank Group begins his life story Timo Ritakalliowhen asked to tell him how he became.

He recalls a photograph of him taken at the age of four in his father’s office at Vampula Cooperative Bank with a landline.

“That’s where it started.”

Ritakallio tells her athletes the days are long since she was a little boy, until at the age of 10 she found a law book on the bookshelf.

“I read the number one in the entire Finnish Law. It was clear from the middle school that I was trying to be right. ”

Ritakallio ended up studying law at the University of Turku. From there he graduated in three years.

The beginning of working life during my studies was fragmented. Among other things, he engaged in telephone collection and sold insurance on a commission basis.

After graduating, Ritakallio applied for the KOP, Säästöpankki and Osuuspankki supervisory programs, continued in all of them, and chose OP’s supervisory training.

Then A huge upheaval began in Finnish banks. Corporate finance revolutionized as investment became more common.

During Osuuspankki’s training as a manager, Ritakallio was ordered to settle misconduct in the bank at IIsalmi Osuuspankki in half. “We worked for four months from morning to night.”

The experience was instructive.

“I saw how the bank had been scammed for money. Big loans had been given against something in the sand pit, and no one had seen to see if anything was under construction. ”

His career continued on an upswing in various stages of corporate banking and investment banking across Finland, until in 1997 he was elected a member of the Executive Board of Osuuspankkien Keskuspankki Oy, OKOBANK, and a few years later as Executive Vice President of Corporate Banking and Investment.

Ritakallio was 35 at the time.

“It came faster than I thought.”

Ritakallio has resolutely continued his education throughout his career.

He graduated with an MBA in 2001 and received his Ph.D. in 2016, with a focus on the strategies of Europe’s 25 largest banks from 2000 to 2012.

Ritakallio says of writing his dissertation as a sports performance: “It’s like a marathon, with the difference that when you think you’re at the finish line, someone says that the journey has to start again.”

Ritakallio wrote his dissertation with the help of two iPads while his wife was driving a car, on a plane and also on a holiday trip. He took only three months off to study.

“I worked 4-5 hours a day in a hotel room while the others were on the beach.”

In 2007 The OP Bank Group’s management changed. He became the new CEO Reijo Karhinen. The following year, Ritakallio left OKO Bank and Pohjola Bank as Deputy CEO of Ilmarinen Pension Insurance Company.

In Ilmarinen, Ritakallio became CEO in 2015. In the spring of 2017, the headhunter called and asked if Ritakallio would be interested in applying for the position of OP Bank Group’s President and CEO.

“Now ask if they are serious,” Ritakallio replied. He was in talks at the time to merge the pension company Etera with Ilmarinen, and the application process had to be kept secret from everyone.

Etera’s merger was announced at the end of June, and Ritakallio’s election as OP Bank Group’s President and CEO was announced in September.

Ritakallio announced that OP would focus on its core businesses and closed a series of runners – up. The strategy was to make the Group agile and self-directed.

The plan worked. The OP Bank Group has increased its market share. Last year, the OP Bank Group made an operating profit of EUR 3 million every day.

Colleagues describe Ritakallio as fast, tough and polite.

Hardness often manifests as toughness and leading from the front, with some people specifying. Determined Ritakallio demands a lot from himself and his subordinates.

“I don’t deny at all that I wouldn’t demand much from others,” Ritakallio admits. “The job of management is to show direction and enable the success of their own subordinates.”

Ritakallion according to age helps his own sins of impatience. For example, during the pandemic and now the Russian war of aggression, long experience has helped to relate things and look to the future, Ritakallio estimates.

When interest now that the market is rising and the market is in pain, the older generation sees opportunities in the situation for the investor, Ritakallio says.

Mortgage debtors in his opinion, when interest rates rise, they are now in a completely different situation from what Finland drifted into during the recession of the 1990s.

“The projected rate hike is so moderate that the ability of the majority to service its loans will not be compromised in any way.”

Ritakallio estimates that regional differences in housing prices will continue to diversify. On the other hand, he sees no justification for a sharp fall in house prices like the 1990s.

Companies and households are now clearly more prosperous than they were then, Ritakallio reminds.

Timo Ritakallio

  • President and CEO of the OP Bank Group, born in Vampula in 1962.

  • Previously served as President and CEO of the employment pension insurance company Ilmarinen in 2015–2018 and as Deputy President and CEO in 2008–2014.

  • He holds a Master of Laws (University of Turku, 1985), an MBA (Aalto University, 2001) and a Doctor of Technology (Aalto University, 2016).

  • Wife, two children and one grandchild.

  • Enjoys orienteering, tennis and golf.

  • Turns 60 on Monday, May 9th.

Correction 7.5. at 20.07: Timo Ritakallio graduated with an MBA in 2001, not in 1999, as previously incorrectly stated in the body text. He defended his doctorate in engineering in 2016, not in 2006, as previously incorrectly stated in the body text.

By Editor

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