PersonaliaJörg Oliveri del Castillo-Schulz

A Palatinate native leads Commerzbank's way into crypto custody

Jörg Oliveri del Castillo-Schulz is the man for all things digital at Commerzbank, despite not fitting the techie stereotype. But that is precisely what makes him the perfect person for the job.

A Palatinate native leads Commerzbank's way into crypto custody

Nomen est omen. Jörg Oliveri del Castillo-Schulz is as versatile as his resonant name. Visually, the Chief Operating Officer doesn't exactly fit the prototype of a tech enthusiast frequenting fintech circles. A full beard on this cleanly shaven Commerzbank executive is as unimaginable as a hoodie.

With his oval glasses, suit, and calm, unassuming demeanor, the 56-year-old comes across more like a jovial uncle who has seen a lot in life and always has an exciting story to tell. However, don't be deceived by the thoroughly down-to-earth impression. He is vigorously driving the digitization efforts at Commerzbank, as evidenced by the recent acquisition of the crypto custody license. It makes the bank the first universal bank in the country to do so.

Infectious enthusiasm

Discussing cryptocurrencies with the former management consultant unveils a fervent passion. The Pfalz native, who has worked at IKB and Deutsche Bank, swiftly imparts his contagious enthusiasm: "Digital assets and their infrastructure will revolutionize the financial industry." Oliveri del Castillo-Schulz delivers this message with such fervor that it's hard to doubt the significance of his words.

Counterpart to the nerdy stereotype

The top IT executive at the bank is not at all enamored with the introverted nerd stereotype often attributed to tech specialists. In conversation, Oliveri del Castillo-Schulz adapts to his audience. He pleasantly avoids confusing non-techies with industry jargon while vividly explaining his rather abstract role. This ability might have been honed through raising his three children.

His approach when joining Commerzbank in early 2022 was somewhat pedagogical. "Stop starting, start finishing – that must be our motto now," he told Börsen-Zeitung at the beginning of the bank's restructuring.

Sobriety meets tech enthusiasm

Having already transformed into an "agile delivery organization" under the old management, he emphasized the importance of setting priorities and preventing development teams from pursuing projects solely for the joy of it. Each project must be regularly assessed for progress and market viability: "If it becomes clear that it won't fly, we'd rather stop it and redirect the team's creativity and skills elsewhere", notes the amnager, who shows great appreciation for his team.

The sober outlook, combined with tech enthusiasm and the joviality typical of Pfalz natives, makes Oliveri del Castillo-Schulz from Kirchheimbolanden the ideal fit for what he has been doing at Commerzbank for almost two years: the man for the digital era. In addition to overseeing the bank's digital transformation, he also manages operations and chairs the board of directors at the in-house incubator Neosfer.

European career

Oliveri del Castillo-Schulz, whose resonant name is owed to his Italian wife, is a committed European both professionally and personally. This commitment began during his studies, taking him from the Berufsakademie Mannheim to Edinburgh, where he met his wife. Armed with a master's degree and a doctorate, he returned to Germany in 1990, working initially at IBM and later at Roland Berger and Deutsche Bank. In 2001, he moved to Paris to work for Société Générale, and later joined Generali in Vienna. In 2006, he returned to Deutsche Bank, working first in Milan and then in London, before coming back to his hometown in 2014.