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Charlotte Crosswell reshapes Open Banking leadership team with new CEO and HR hires

Henk Van Hulle will lead the OBIE operationally and deliver on the strategy set by the Trustee.

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Henk Van Hulle

The Open Banking Implementation Entity (OBIE) is getting its first CEO with the appointment of Henk Van Hulle tomorrow.

Van Hulle, a long-serving executive from the Post Office, arrives as part of new OBIE Chair and Trustee Charlotte Crosswell’s drive to improve both the governance and industry reputation of her organisation.

Last year saw the resignation of former Trustee Imran Gulamhuseinwala who was blamed for allowing “a culture of bullying and intimidation to prevail” in the OBIE.

Under Gulamhuseinwala’s leadership, the OBIE’s Chair and Trustee had held the chief executive function in their role, essentially holding three roles in one and very much at odds with best governance practices. However, this now looks set to change.

Van Hulle will now lead the OBIE executive team, which is also growing to include Debbie Lombard, a new People and HR Director.

“I remain wholly committed to making both immediate and ongoing changes, to strengthen OBIE’s governance and culture following the publication of the independent Alison White report and as we prepare for our next phase,” said Crosswell on the appointments.

Since her arrival, Crosswell has taken a hard line on revitalising the OBIE, initially declaring that there was “no scope for complacency” following the publication of Alison White’s report into Gulamhuseinwala’s leadership of the organisation.

“I want to see the benefits of [open banking] sustained and further developed throughout 2022 and beyond,” said Van Hulle on his appointment. 

“At the same time, I am committed to working with Charlotte, the Board, and the rest of the management team to not only ensure we address legacy issues but also adopt a culture of continuous learning and improvement going forward.”

Van Hulle also made mention of the future direction of the organisation, stating that “we want to ensure the OBIE of today, and whatever new entity we transition to remains a culturally progressive, inclusive, and fit for purpose organisation.”

The UK is currently awaiting the CMA’s decision on that “new entity” and what its purpose will be in enabling what is being called ‘Open Finance’, the expansion of open banking to include the opening up of additional financial datasets beyond current accounts.

An announcement has been repeatedly delayed, initially by the bullying scandal itself and now as Crosswell works to implement the changes called for by White’s report.

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