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IPO hopeful Pleo hires new chief financial officer

Søren Westh Lonning joins the fintech, bringing his experience as the CFO of a listed company

Søren Westh Lonning / Pleo

Søren Westh Lonning / Pleo

Danish spend management firm Pleo is appointing a new chief financial officer in a move to bolster the fintech’s financial planning, capital structure and broader commercial efforts.

Søren Westh Lonning, formerly CFO of Danish Endurance and previously group CFO of listed Danish bioscience firm Chr Hansen, will be joining Pleo in 2024. 

Lonning has been working with Pleo in an advisory capacity in recent months, and takes over from Anita Szarek who left the fintech in September to join SME expense management firm Qonto.

Pleo CEO Jeppe Rindom told CNBC that in hiring an experienced chief financial officer, like Lonning, gave the company “optionality” for an IPO, as well as improving its processes around accounting, risk and compliance to “mature in a way that also resonates with an IPO eventually, should that be needed.”

While that is on the cards, Lonning’s primary focus will be to drive efficient growth as Pleo looks to expand and win mid-market customers.

“Being a finance leader myself, the company’s mission to go beyond the books and make spend management effective and empowering is a critical one in today’s fast-paced business environment,” Lonning said.

“Efficient and healthy business spending is crucial for success, and I am eager to contribute my expertise to further advance the goals and objectives of Pleo, one of Europe’s Fintech unicorns.”

Pleo last raised funding in December 2021 when it closed a $200m extension to its earlier $150m raise, which valued the company at a $4.7bn valuation.

Following that high point, the company at the end of 2022 was forced to axe 15 per cent of its workforce, shedding around 150 employees as the fintech funding landscape turned.

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