Luxembourg is much more than just a financial centre, and although we have included expats from the so-called Big Four companies which service that sector among others, the 25 profiles in this section represent a good cross-section.
These leaders moved to the grand duchy to further their careers, expand their horizons or grab opportunities not immediately available to them elsewhere. Others have launched businesses and become successful entrepreneurs. They share an appreciation of how Luxembourg’s size and multilingual business environment make it easy to establish a network and get things moving quickly.
Many are now paying back the country that gave them their break by promoting Luxembourg abroad, mentoring young professionals or helping back the plethora of startups that will ensure the grand duchy’s economy continues to flourish and diversify.
Jonathan Prince is an established name in Luxembourg’s fintech world where he is known as co-founder of Finologee and electronic payments system Digicash. But, had it not been for an accident at the start of his career, the French-UK national may have taken a different path. Growing up in Toulouse, France, Prince said the “the career choice was either playing rugby, which I started but was too lazy and probably not good enough to make into a professional team,” or joining Airbus.
In 2001, Prince was due to begin an internship in the Airbus purchasing department when there was an explosion in a nearby chemical plant. He was offered a job when he and the rugby club he played for helped secure a nearby business whose windows had been blown out by the blast. It was around the time of the 9/11 attacks in the US. “Airbus contacted me a few days later saying, we're not going to hire anyone, because there's so much uncertainty about the future.”
Prince joined the other firm where he took charge of its payment solutions. The company had 200 staff when he joined. When he left, the workforce numbered 1,500, the firm had expanded to 25 countries and Prince was on the board of directors. “From there I had this feeling that electronic payments and mobile payments was going to be huge.”
Jonathan Prince, pictured, grew up in Toulouse, France. hoto: Matic Zorman/archives
Prince started his own firm in 2007 selling banners on apps, among other things, before moving to Luxembourg in 2010 to start a subsidiary digital goods and services firm Mpulse in France and develop an R&D project. The latter became Digicash, a mobile wallet which was acquired in 2017 by Payconiq, the ING-derived mobile payments app. Prince was born in France the youngest of five children.
He says “there is probably no better place for” running a fintech regtech operation than Luxembourg. “As an outsider the time they had all the required ingredients: a big banking industry, and agile country”, not to mention putting together the right team. Prince says his expertise is his ability to forge connections and put people together, something he does well in his second passion—rugby.
Having played rugby union at a semi-professional level in France, Prince was cheered to find a strong rugby scene in Luxembourg when he moved. He has coached the women, boys and seniors of Walferdange rugby club, of which he is a member and today plays for the veterans. He also practices krav maga.