A rundown of some of the most significant appointments and departures in 2021.
2021 marked the year when some big names left some big jobs in fintech, some moving within the industry, others exiting the industry completely.
Meanwhile, there were several big hitters joining fintech, including a former governor of the Bank of England.
Here AltFi takes a look at some of the biggest hires and exits of 2021.
Tom Blomfield – Generation Home
Tom Blomfield, one of the poster children of fintech who, just over a year since he left Monzo, returned to fintech. The co-founder of Monzo took a seat on the board of proptech Generation Home, in which he is an investor. Blomfield has also invested in payroll automation startup Pento. It remains to be seen whether Blomfield will take further fintech board positions or something even more juicy next year.
Mark Carney – Stripe
A bit of a coup for Stripe, appointing Mark Carney, the former head of the UK and Canadian central banks, to its board. The US payments giant said it would “benefit from Mark Carney‘s extensive experience of global financial systems and governance”. Carney had a 13-year career at Wall Street bank Goldman Sachs in its London, Tokyo, New York and Toronto offices, before taking on the roles at the central banks. The former Bank of England governor is the United Nations special envoy on climate action and finance.
Shane Happach – Mollie
2021 marked a big year for Mollie, the year the Dutch payments firm closed a massive $800m funding round, making it one of the most valuable startups in Europe with a value of $6.5bn. Another big moment for Mollie was the appointment of former Worldpay executive Shane Happach as CEO. Happach spent ten years at the payment processing firm and at Mollie replaces Gaston Aussems, who was Mollie’s CEO between 2013 and mid-2020.
Carol Nelson – Monzo
In musical chairs at Monzo, Carol Nelson took on the role of Monzo’s US CEO, after incumbent TS Anil moved to role of group CEO after co-founder Tom Blomfield stepped down in 2020. Nelson has worked as a strategic adviser for Monzo, whose US outfit is small with a handful of employees, since 2019, helping Monzo with its US banking licence application. Nelson was previously CEO of Cascade Bank and before then worked at the Bank of America for over two decades.
Sir Donald Brydon – PrimaryBid
PrimaryBid appointed a City heavyweight to chair its board and oversee its next stage of growth. Sir Donald Brydon was chair of the London Stock Exchange until 2019 and chair of accounting group Sage and SME banking service Tide. PrimaryBid is bringing Brydon on board for his public market experience. PrimaryBid raised £50m in 2020 and supported the IPOs of PensionBee and Deliveroo.
Samir Desai – Funding Circle
Samir Desai, CEO and co-founder of peer-to-peer lender Funding Circle, is stepping down at the end of the year after over a decade in charge. Funding Circle said Desai would be moving to a NED role from January next year. Desai, a former management consultant, is being replaced by Lisa Jacobs, who has been with the firm since 2012 and is manager of is UK business. Desai co-founded Funding Circle in 2010 in the wake of the financial crisis. Funding Circle targeted a value of £2bn in a London listing in 2018 but its value has tumbled and is worth around £500m.
Ricky Knox – Tandem
Tandem CEO and co-founder Ricky Knox exited the bank amid wide-ranging changes. Knox was replaced by Susie Aliker, who was most recently CEO of trade finance group BACB and, before that, spent 14 years at Credit Suisse. The changing of the guard came amid Tandem pivoting its business from a consumer-facing credit card brand to become a “green bank” with savings accounts and home loans to make energy-saving improvements. The changes are a far cry from how Tandem was initially envisioned by Knox when he founded the business in 2014 as a banking alternative to compete with the likes of Monzo and Starling.
Ronald Oliveira – Revolut
The exit of Ronald Oliveira marked one of the highest-ranking departures from the digital bank in recent times. It is unclear where Oliveria is heading next. Revolut appointed him to the role in March 2020 ahead of the launch of its US operations and just before the world went into lockdown. In a four-decade-long career, Oliveira has worked for several banks, including the Union Bank of California, where he worked for over 21 years. Revolut has seen a spate of employees leaving to head to other fintechs in recent times.
Imran Gulamhuseinwala – OBIE
Imran Gulamhuseinwala, the long term boss of the Open Banking Implementation Entity (OBIE) resigned amid an investigation into the organisation's culture which found a number of failings. Gulamhuseinwala, who ran the organisation since 2017, is one of the leading figures globally in the open banking movement. The allegations came to light via a report from Alison White, a director of the OBIE. The Competition and Markets Authority, which has oversight of the organisation noted in a statement that there had been “failures by the leadership of the OBIE” that allowed “a culture of bullying and intimidation to prevail”. Charlotte Crosswell, the long-term CEO of Innovative Finance has taken up the role of overseeing the OBIE’s next steps.
Luke Lang – Crowdcube
Crowdcube founder Luke Lang announced he was exiting the company he co-founded in 2010. Lang and fellow co-founder Darren Westlake started Crowdcube from “a makeshift office with borrowed furniture” and grew the business into a platform that has facilitated some £1.2bn in investment to over 1,000 startups and businesses.“However, after emerging from the pandemic even stronger, hitting profitability and with exciting plans in place for further growth, I feel that now is a good time for me to move on and let others write the next exciting chapter in Crowdcube's history,” wrote Lang on Linkedin announcing his departure. His exits comes as Crowdcube faces a period of change, with its Seedrs merger having collapsed under regulatory scrutiny the business is now looking to expand into the public markets by facilitating ‘Community IPOs’ and challenging PrimaryBid’s dominance.