Boss of Goldman-backed digital bank Starling to step down next month

Starling Bank chief executive Anne Bodden.

Starling Bank

The co-founder of Starling, one of Britain’s largest digital banks, will step down as chief executive next month, the company said on Thursday.

Starling backed by US investment banking giant Goldman Sachsis one of the most prominent fintech companies in the country, with a user base of 3.6 million customers.

Anne Bodden will step down on June 30, according to a press release. She will hand over the reins to Starling Chief Operating Officer John Mountain, who has been with the bank since 2015.

“I’ve been founder and CEO here for almost a decade, a dual role unique in UK banking,” Bodden said in a statement on Thursday. “It’s all been laborious and I love every aspect of it minute.”

“Now that we have grown from an ambitious challenger to a full-fledged bank, it is clear that ultimately the roles and priorities of the CEO and majority shareholder are different and require a different approach. As Starling continues to grow, It is in the best interest of the bank to separate my two roles.”

Starling reported annual revenue of 453 million pounds ($600 million) for the year ending March 31, 2023, more than double that in 2022, and pre-tax profit of 195 million pounds, a sixfold increase year-on-year.

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Loans totaled £4.9bn, up from £3.3bn. Customer deposits rose 17% to £10.6bn.

Boden co-founded Starling in 2014, and he has transformed the start-up from a minor challenger in the banking industry to a major player in the UK financial world.

The often outspoken chief executive has been a key voice in the UK government’s attempts to establish it as a full-fledged fintech hub.

She is also a staunch critic of social media’s role in online fraud and a known cryptocurrency skeptic.

On a conference call with reporters Thursday, Borden said the main driver of her decision was concern that her large stake in the company could create a conflict of interest.

Borden owns 4% of Starling.

She added that it was she, not the company’s board, that initiated the conversation about her departure.

Starling has raised a total of £946.5 billion to date from investors including Goldman Sachs, Fidelity and the Qatar Investment Authority. The bank was last valued at £2.5bn.

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In response to a question from CNBC on Thursday, Borden said that if the company raised capital today, its stock would not be worth less than it was last time.

Asked how her planned resignation would affect Starling’s path to an IPO, Borden said the IPO market is currently closed and the company is in no rush.

The UK has come under a lot of criticism from top tech bosses for its tech listing environment – earlier this year, Revolut’s CEO said he would never list in London.

Borden said Starling has yet to make a decision on where its eventual public offering will go, but the U.K. is likely to be the venue for its debut.

“We need to keep our options open. It’s not the right time to decide where to list, but we are a UK bank and a very successful UK bank,” Bodden said.

“Customers love us and will be available in the UK by default because consumers are passionate about a brand as strong as Starling.”

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