Depfa Bank has made three key appointments to its global structured export finance team over the last month, hiring in Tokyo, Frankfurt and London.

The string of appointments began in August with the hire of Tadashi Okamoto at its Tokyo branch. He joins as managing director and head of structured export finance in Asia. He will be reporting to Pradeep Mathur, global head of SEF based in London.

Talking to GTR, Mathur remarks: “The recent hires are part of Depfa’s initiative to establish a global structured export finance capability. This is a logical extension of our infrastructure finance business, and our aim of increasing the bank’s product offering to our clients particularly in the emerging markets where export finance is more frequently required and where the bank is currently expanding.”

Okamoto moves from Deutsche Bank where he spent seven years and was responsible for the SEF business in the Tokyo market. Before joining Deutsche, he spent six years in the project finance team of Sanwa Bank, now known as Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ.

A further two hires have been made in September. In Frankfurt, Richard Heiler has been appointed as a managing director within the structured export finance team, reporting to Pradeep Mathur.

He will be taking responsibility for building up the origination and execution capabilities in Europe, importer marketing in Latin America, Africa, and parts of Europe, as well as structuring complex transactions.

Heiler moves from Banco Santander in Madrid, where he acted as an executive director overseeing the bank’s structured trade and export finance business for the last seven years. He also spent three years with the bank in Frankfurt covering German export finance. Before Santander he also worked at Barclays and Commerzbank in Frankfurt.

In London, Philippe Valahu has been hired as a managing director within the structured export finance (SEF) team, again reporting to Pradeep Mathur. Valahu will be assisting in strengthening the team’s origination capabilities in emerging and exporter markets in both Europe and the Americas, as well working on ECA and multilateral-backed transactions.

Valahu brings 13 years of experience with the multilateral Miga, where he was the acting director of operations as well as the global head of infrastructure finance. During his time at Miga, he also held the position of regional head for Asia, based in Singapore.

All three hires form part of Depfa’s on-going initiative launched in 2006 to strengthen its SEF business line, within its infrastructure finance unit. Pradeep Mathur was hired at the end of last year with the mandate to set up the SEF business line. He has an extensive background in the export finance market, as well as previous experience in establishing new departments within banks. Before moving to Depfa, he freelanced in Canada working closely with EDC, Nexi, JBIC and US Ex-Im. Between 1996 and 2004, he was managing director and head of structured export finance Asia for Deutsche Bank in Singapore.

Speaking to GTR, Mathur adds: “I was brought in to Depfa in December 2006 with the mandate to set up the bank’s structured export finance business. With these recent hires, we have established the core manpower for the team, although further hires will be made as we move into 2008. The team build-up will include adding additional execution capabilities in the industrialised countries as well as marketing and origination capabilities in the emerging markets.  We have started building the deal pipeline with bids to arrange a number of export-related transactions. These endeavours will accelerate in coming months as the team expands and settles. ”