Ex-AIB chief Anne Boden to step down as Starling boss to avoid potential conflict of interest

Founder who owns 4.9% of digital bank to remain on board of directors

Former AIB chief operating officer Anne Boden is stepping down as chief executive of Starling Bank, the fintech she co-founded, in a surprise announcement she said was to remove any potential conflict of interest from her being a significant shareholder in the firm.

Ms Boden, who owns 4.9 per cent of the bank she founded in 2014, said she would step down at the end of June following discussions with the board about the risk of a conflict. She said she had initiated those talks about six months ago.

“Modern-day governance is all about the board setting the strategy and the chief executive carrying it out,” said Ms Boden on Thursday. “As a major shareholder, that’s very difficult to do if you’re also chief executive.”

She added that UK regulators had not raised her stake in the bank as an issue.


Ms Boden is the latest in a long line of UK fintech bosses to leave their positions including Tom Blomfield, who founded rival Monzo, and Wise co-founder Taavet Hinrikus, who stepped down as chair of the payments company to strengthen its governance ahead of its 2021 public listing.

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Chief operating officer John Mountain will take over as interim chief executive when Boden leaves, said Starling, as it reported a record sixfold increase in pretax profits to £195 million (€224 million) in the year to March 2023 while revenues more than doubled to £453 million.

Mortgage growth helped to drive the results, with total mortgage lending hitting £3.4 billion, compared with £1.2 billion in the same period last year. Starling acquired buy-to-let mortgage provider Fleet Mortgages in July, 2021, and the loan portfolio of specialist lender Masthaven last June.

Chief financial officer Declan Ferguson said Starling would be bringing an additional mortgage product to the market in the coming months.