Zafin founder and CEO joins latest slew of #CDNtech executive turnover

Zafin founder Al Karim Somji, left, and incoming CEO Charbel Safadi, right.
Martello, Boast, and Illumin have also shuffled their leadership teams since the end of March.

After over 20 years at the helm, Zafin founder Al Karim Somji is joining a growing list of executive turnover in Canadian tech after being acquired in February. 

Charbel Safadi, who previously served as the banking platform’s group president, will take over as CEO immediately, while Somji will continue to serve as a “substantial stakeholder” and member on the company’s board. 

“I have full confidence in Charbel’s vision and capabilities to propel Zafin to even greater heights,” Somji said in a LinkedIn post.  

Safadi said in a statement that he will continue to build on Zafin’s foundation with a focus on sustainable revenue growth and profitability. 

RELATED: Bank modernization software provider Zafin to be acquired by Nordic Capital

The Vancouver-based company was founded in 2002 by Somji and COO Anugopal Venugopalan. It provides a range of FinTech software solutions, such as automated pricing, billing, and analytical tools, to traditional banks that may be held back by legacy architecture. Zafin says it has customers around the globe including CIBC, HSBC, and Wells Fargo.

While under Somji’s lead, Zafin closed a $22-million Series B round in 2019 led by Vistara Growth Partners, who also participated in Zafin’s $13-million raise in 2016. Nordic Capital acquired the firm this past February for an undisclosed amount, but Vistara Growth managing partner and Zafin board member Randy Garg told BetaKit that it represented “one of the largest recent exits in the Canadian software industry,” and The Globe and Mail reported that the agreement valued Zafin at more than $500-million USD ($677-million CAD). 

Nordic also told BetaKit that its investment was made in partnership with Zafin’s founders and management, who reinvested in the company and joined Nordic as “significant minority owners” following the deal. 

Zafin’s leadership transition is just one of many recent executive leadership changes BetaKit has noted in 2024. 

RELATED: Unbounce among the latest #CDNtech companies making changes at the top

Joining that list is Ottawa-based software monitoring provider Martello, who took the interim label from CEO Jim Clark’s job title at the end of March after he replaced outgoing CEO John Proctor in November. Martello chairman Terry Matthews said in a statement that Clark’s leadership as interim CEO fuelled operational enhancements at Martello, giving him full confidence in his ability in the role.

Vancouver-based R&D tax credit software company Boast replaced outgoing CEO Alok Tyagi with Imad Jebara last month. Boast said Jebara, who brings experience from software-development company Diligent and accounting firm KPMG, would helm “broadening” its mission. Tyagi replaced the startup’s founding CEO in May 2022 to help the company scale after it raised its first round of institutional capital in 2020. 

Finally, Toronto-based marketing strategy platform Illumin tapped Simon Cairns to take over the CEO role from co-founder Tal Hayek on April 15. Cairns brought experience as the CEO of SPUD, an omnichannel retailer of fresh foods, and as the CEO of PNI Media, an e-commerce SaaS platform acquired by Staples in 2014. 

Other companies that have experienced executive changes this year include, among others, Unbounce, MindBridge, ActiveState, AnalytixInsight, Acuity Insights, Volaris Group, Flashfood, NowVertical, Top Hat, Untether, Cinchy, and Alida

Feature image courtesy Al Karim Somji via LinkedIn.

Alex Riehl

Alex Riehl

Alex Riehl is a staff writer and newsletter curator at BetaKit with a Bachelor of Journalism from Carleton University. He's interested in tech, gaming, and sports. You can find out more about him at or @RiehlAlex99 on Twitter.

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