Mr Reijo Karhinen has served as President and CEO of the OP Financial Group since 2007. Karhinen studied economics at the Turku School of Economics, graduating with a master’s degree. Since the beginning of his career in 1979, he has held various managerial positions in the OP Group cooperative banks, and in 1994 he was appointed to the Board of Directors of the OP Financial Group.
Karhinen has witnessed the financial market during the years when banking was strictly regulated as well as later during the banking crisis and the subsequent period of vigorous growth. During his term, he completed the merger between the OP Group and Pohjola Insurance, which was initiated in 2005 and resulted in the creation of Finland’s largest financial group. Under his direction, the customer-owned OP Financial Group has evolved into a diversified financial services corporation in accordance with its new strategy announced in 2016.
A concrete, final touch to the merger of OP and Pohjola was the move to the same offices in Vallilla, Helsinki, in 2015. At that time, the OP Group’s Vallila building was one of the candidates for the Finlandia Prize for Architecture. The impressive edifice was designed by JKMM Arkkitehdit Oy. The aesthetically consistent block represents the new approach to work in the financial sector, having revolutionised the corporate culture and workplace atmosphere. Some 3,000 financing professionals currently work in the premises.
Karhinen is one of Finland’s most prominent business leaders and is active in social media, where he addresses a wide range of themes related to reforms needed in Finland. He has been awarded honorary doctorates by the University of Turku, the University of Eastern Finland and the Lappeenranta University of Technology. Karhinen also continues to hold several positions of trust in business and the third sector. These include Chair of the Helsinki Mission Council, Chair of the Board of the Business Education Fund and the Maanpuolustuksen Tuki Defence Association, Deputy Chair of the New Paediatric Hospital Sponsor Foundation, and Chair of the Council of the Sponsor Association for the Savonlinna Opera Festival.
Aside from voluntary activities, Karhinen’s hobbies include golf and forest management at his estate in Savo, eastern Finland.