UK’s Starling Bank CEO departs months after it pulled out of Ireland launch

25 May 2023

Anne Boden. Image: Eóin Noonan/MoneyConf via Sportsfile via (CC BY 2.0)

Anne Boden had been in talks with Irish regulators to launch the digital bank here before deciding to opt for a SaaS product launch instead.

Starling Bank has announced today (25 May) that Anne Boden is stepping down from her role as CEO. She will remain on the board of directors at the UK-headquartered digital bank.

Boden, who will vacate the CEO role at the end of next month, said in a letter posted on Starling Bank’s website that she was “incredibly proud” of the organisation she founded and built. She said that the board had selected current COO John Mountain as interim CEO.

Boden praised him in her letter, saying “He understands what makes us successful and what it takes to lead Starling.”

Starling was founded in 2014 as a challenger to rival traditional banking providers. Boden had been trying to get the bank into Ireland before appearing to back out on her plan.

She said in 2017 that Starling would be coming to Ireland in the first quarter of 2018, but that plan was later postponed by the pandemic. The company wanted to use Ireland as a stepping stone into the European market.

Last July, Boden withdrew Starling’s application for a banking license in Ireland. She said that the team had decided that an Irish subsidiary would not deliver “added value”. Starling subsequently launched a software-as-a-service subsidiary called Engine.

In her letter today, Boden jokingly claimed to have seen reports of Engine’s CEO having been spotted “surfing on Bondi Beach” in an apparent reference to its success.

On a more serious note, she said that she felt Engine was the best way for Starling’s banking tech to reach a global market.

“While millions of customers in the UK are benefiting from Starling, billions of customers around the world are not. Yet. While we believe technology is global, customers and country regulators are not,” she said.

“We therefore believe the best way to enter these markets is by providing a software-and-a-service solution to banks around the world through our subsidiary Engine.” Her leaving statement was released to coincide with Starling’s latest financial results.

Boden alluded to company values, successes and difficulties in her long open letter to staff and customers.

She also clarified that she would not be disappearing entirely from the online banking world or from Starling. “I will be popping up now and then with my perspectives on banking, technology and, of course, Starling. Wherever digital technology is creating new, safer and stable ways of managing money, you can expect me to be there,” she said.

Anne Boden, CEO, Starling Bank, speaking at MoneyConf 2018 at the RDS Arena in Dublin. Image: Eóin Noonan/MoneyConf via Sportsfile via (CC BY 2.0)

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Blathnaid O’Dea was a Careers reporter at Silicon Republic until 2024.