Anne Boden, CEO, Starling Bank.
The company said Thursday that the co-founder of Starling, one of the UK’s largest digital banks, is set to step down as chief executive next month.
Starling, which is backed by the American investment banking giant Goldman SachsIt is one of the most prominent financial technology companies in the country with a user base of 3.6 million customers.
Ann Boden is set to step down on June 30, according to a press release. She will hand over the reins to Starling’s Chief Operating Officer, John Mountain, who has been with the bank since 2015.
“I’ve spent nearly a decade here as founder and CEO, which is a unique dual role in UK banking,” Bowden said in a statement Thursday. “It was very all-consuming and I loved every minute of it.”
“Now that we have evolved from being an ambitious competitor to an established bank, it is clear that the roles and priorities of the CEO and a significant shareholder ultimately differ and require distinct approaches. As Starling continues to evolve and grow, separating my functions is in the interest of the bank.”
Starling reported annual revenue of £453m ($600m) for the year ending March 31, 2023, more than double from 2022, with pre-tax profit of £195m, up sixfold year-on-year.
Total lending stood at £4.9 billion, up from £3.3 billion. Customer deposits increased by 17% to £10.6 billion.
Boden, who co-founded Starling in 2014, has transformed the startup from a small competitor in banking into a major player in the UK financial landscape.
The often outspoken CEO has been a key voice behind the UK government’s attempt to make it an established fintech hub.
She is also a vocal critic of social media’s role in online fraud, as well as a high-profile crypto-skeptic.
On a call with reporters Thursday, Bowden said the main thing that led to her decision was concerns that her large stake in the company could create a conflict of interest.
Boden owns a 4% stake in Starling.
She added that she herself, not the company’s board of directors, initiated talks about her departure.
Starling has raised a total of £946.5 billion so far from investors including Goldman Sachs, Fidelity and the Qatar Investment Authority. The bank was last valued at £2.5 billion.
In response to a question by CNBC on Thursday, Boden said that if the company did a capital raise today, its shares would not fall in value from their last price.
Asked how her plans to step down might affect Starling’s path toward an IPO, Boden said the IPO market is currently closed and the company is in no rush.
The UK has received a lot of criticism from CTOs about its technology listing environment – earlier this year, the CEO of Revolut said it would never list in London.
Boden said Starling has yet to make a decision on where to list in its final public offering, but the UK will likely be where it first docks.
“We need to keep our options open. This is not the time to decide on where to list, but we are a British bank and a very successful British bank,” Bowden said.
“Customers love us and the default would be a UK listing due to consumer enthusiasm for a strong brand like Starling.”