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Who is Starling Bank’s new CEO John Mountain?

Starling Bank’s long term CEO Anne Boden does not have a direct replacement yet but the bank’s COO is stepping in, at least in the short term, to lead its 2000-strong team.

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John Mountain

Anne Boden, one of the most prolific and respected UK entrepreneurs, is stepping down as CEO of Starling Bank, the highly disruptive company she founded nearly a decade ago.

The news is a shock to many who expected Boden to remain at the helm of one of the UK’s most successful fintech companies, at least until after a public listing through an Initial Public Offering concluded its stellar growth story from startup to scale-up and beyond.

While many will be wondering how Starling’s next ten years will fair given Boden’s departure, with a new leader can come a huge transformation in a short space of time. 

Monzo’sTom Blomfield, who has just become a partner at the prestigious early-stage VC investor Y-Combinator, departed his role as CEO nearly two and half years ago.

Since then Monzo has flourished under the new leadership of TS Anil but is certainly a different bank on many levels.

 An “international” search for a new CEO has begun but in the meantime, John Mountain - Starling’s existing chief operating officer - is taking the reigns as ‘interim CEO’. 

“Handing over my responsibilities to John Mountain will enable me to focus on my position as a shareholder, championing Starling and ensuring we hold true to our values and vision of changing banking for the better,” said Boden.

Mountain, a 44-year-old exec with a strong technical background, joined Starling seven years ago as its chief information officer. 

Back in 2015, Starling was gearing up for launch and Mountain led the software build and launch for its proprietary core banking systems.

Last year in June he moved to become chief operating officer, working closely with Boden on broader strategic projects including Engine, the bank’s B2B arm where he is a director. 

“Anne has created a company that I’m really proud to work in and is genuinely different. What makes Starling stand out is that we’ve succeeded in making it both customer-led and technology-led throughout,” said Mountain.

“We’ve firmly established a sustainable business model and I look forward to continuing our work of changing banking for good,” said Mountain.

Mountain is a former director of Pay.UK, prior to joingin Starling where he had a 15 year career as a technical architect at a number of firms including consultancy BJSS, working for clients such as Lloyds Bank and Waitrose. 

Back in 2018, Mountain shared some of thoughts AltFi on where the rapidly moving neobank market was heading.

“At Starling we believe our customers’ bank accounts should integrate with the rest of their lives and that they should have control of their own data,” he said.

“We have already onboarded a variety of third party financial services providers in our Marketplace. Our customers can, in addition, automate their accounts using webhooks that we released last month,” he added.

The news of Boden’s departure comes on a high note for the bank with its revenue suring to £453m for the year to 31 March 2023, a 109 per cent increase from the £216m for the previous year.

It also pre-tax profits reach £195m for the same period, a six fold increase from the £32m of 12 months ago.

In 2020, AltFi asked Boden when she said she was fully focused on the business given its growth trajectory.

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