Neobank Aspiration Names Olivia Albrech as New CEO

Since its founding in 2013, the environmentally-minded neobank Aspiration has undergone many changes. Along the way, the company has also seen significant investments from such celebs as Leonardo DiCaprio and Robert Downey Jr., raising $250 million to date. Now, the company is undergoing another big change as a new leader is stepping up.

Recently, Aspiration announced that Olivia Albrecht had been named as Chief Executive Officer and will join the company’s Board of Directors. Albrecht, who joined Aspiration as its Chief Sustainability Officer earlier this year, replaces co-founder Andrei Cherny as CEO. Despite departing that role, Cherny will remain on the Board and serve as an advisor.

Aspiration currently offers a number of financial services and products — all of which are intended to help fight climate change. For example, the company launched its Aspiration Zero credit card, which promises to plant one tree for every purchase a customer makes. Similarly, the Plant Your Change program enables credit and debit card customers to donate their digital spare change toward tree-planting efforts. As Aspiration notes, it also has been growing its carbon markets business. According to the company, as CEO, Albretcht will build Aspiration’s carbon origination as well as develop “unique distribution channels across retail, small business, and large enterprise clients.”

Commenting on that aspect of Aspiration’s business and the appointment of Albrecht, Oaktree Capital Management Managing Director and Co-Head of North America for the Global Opportunities Brian Laibow said, “As the world accelerates toward large-scale decarbonization, the carbon credit markets will play an increasingly important role in corporate strategy, capital allocation, and consumer engagement. We are thrilled with Olivia’s leadership, building Aspiration’s market-leading position to capitalize on megatrends generated by the transition to climate neutrality.”

Meanwhile, addressing the out-going Cherny, Aspiration’s Board of Directors Chair Nate Redmond remarked, “We thank Andrei for his tireless dedication building Aspiration from initial insight to a significant and rapidly growing company,” adding, “Markets will reward pioneers that build comprehensive solutions for a net zero world. Andrei built a talented team at Aspiration that will continue, under Olivia’s leadership, to achieve the development of innovative products that are unlocking this rapidly emerging category of climate solutions.”

While some consumers may now be familiar with Aspiration via their neobanking efforts, this news shows that there’s much more to the company than many may realize. Also of note, the change in CEO comes as Aspiration is still set to undergo an initial public offering via a merger with a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) — although this deal was originally expected to close in the first quarter of this year. Whether this leadership swap and increased emphasis on offering carbon offsets to enterprise businesses will have any impact on that deal and the success of an eventual IPO remains to be seen, but it will be interesting to see what becomes of Aspiration as it continues to grow.

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Jonathan Dyer

I'm a small town guy living in Los Angeles looking to make solid financial decisions. I write for a number of finance websites, including HuffingtonPost and Business2Community. I founded DyerNews.com in 2015 to focus on personal finance and the emerging FinTech markets.

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