Starling Bank chief Anne Boden to step down after announcing six-fold profits increase

Anne Boden is stepping down as chief executive of Starling Bank, nine years after founding the company.

The Welsh businesswoman said it was the right time to step aside as it reported a record pre-tax profit of £195m, a six-fold increase on the previous year.

She will step down on 30 June, but will stay on the board and still part-own the company.

Starling was one of a few so-called challenger banks which promised to revolutionise the UK sector.

With no branches, it prides itself on its app and customer service.

Ms Boden announced her departure as the bank published its latest profits for 2022-23.

Revealing her intention to leave Ms Boden said: “It’s thrilling. When I look back at how I started Starling, I never thought we would get to this stage.

“Starling is bigger than just one person, it is bigger than a founder-led organisation. It is a piece of infrastructure that is important to the UK. We provide a real role in society.”

Ms Boden, 63, said it was “not really appropriate” for Starling to continue to have a shareholder as its chief executive. She still owns 4.9% of the company and keeps a seat on the board as a non-executive director.

Starling Bank said it has begun a global search for a new chief executive, with chief operating officer John Mountain becoming interim chief executive.

Starling has grown steadily from its initial base of personal customers, adding business accounts and acquiring a mortgage book, partly due to its purchase of Fleet Mortgages.

Ms Boden, decided to pursue her dream of launching a bank after becoming disenchanted with the banking world.

“People never believed that a 5ft tall Welsh woman in her mid-50s could do something that had never been done before,” she said.

“I had become ashamed to be a banker, I was ashamed to be part of that whole regime that had let the country down.

“I wanted to do something different, I wanted to found a bank that was really good for customers, that was fair. And people never believed I could do it and be profitable.

“So here we are, we have done it, proof positive.”

Ms Boden said Starling Bank would continue to grow and believes it can take more customers from the older, more established banks.

Starling will eventually list itself on the stock exchange, she said.

Listing a firm on a stock exchange takes it from being a private to a public company, with investors able to buy and sell shares on specific exchanges. Companies usually list on stock exchanges to gain access to a wider range of investors.

“It’s not going to be this year, but eventually Starling will list,” she said.

“It will be at the right time.”

As a result of her success with Starling, she has become a role model for women in finance. She chairs a UK government task force that aims to boost the number of women launching fast-growing businesses.

“When women get the investment, when women get the chance, they can lead great companies and lead those companies to success,” she said.

Asked for her advice for a woman from her home town of Neath who may want to start a business, she said perseverance was required.

“However, unless you start, you never know.”

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