Fintech’s biggest hires and departures of 2023
Here’s a round-up of some of last year’s biggest entries and exits
2023 was a year of extreme challenges, and many fintechs either struggled or didn’t make it through the year altogether.
Huge players Carta, Payoneer, Zepz and Thought Machine all announced rounds of job cuts, while the highly pressured environment also triggered a rise in individual hires and departures, all while the sector reconfigured itself in the push to profitability.
There were also a handful of truly momentous job moves in 2023 – some of which will shape the next period of fintech.
Here are some of the industry’s biggest hires and exits of 2023:
Changing Of The Guard
Anne Boden and John Mountain – Starling Bank
In what will probably be remembered as the single biggest fintech job move of the year, Starling Bank’s CEO and founder Anne Boden announced her departure alongside the bank’s record FY2022 results.
Her leaving paved the way for Starling’s chief operating officer John Mountain to take over as the bank’s interim CEO, with the recruitment process for a permanent CEO still ongoing.
Francesca Carlesi – Molo Mortgages and Revolut
In October, just over six months after UK mortgage lender Molo was acquired by Australian rival ColCap, Molo’s long-serving CEO Francesca Carlesi announced her departure from the company.
A month later Carlesi was back in the headlines, this time as the newly-appointed UK CEO of fintech giant Revolut.
“There are so many growth opportunities and I couldn’t be more excited to be leading the way for the UK. We have big things planned, so watch this space,” Carlesi said.
Søren Westh Lonning – Pleo
A major end-of-year appointment for spend management fintech Pleo after it hired new chief financial officer Søren Westh Lonning in December.
What gave this hire additional weight was Lonnings experience as the CFO of a listed company, and Pleo CEO Jeppe Rindom’s comments to CNBC that the new exec would give the fintech more “optionality” to explore an IPO.
Conor Walsh – Monzo
This year Monzo appointed its third US CEO, with Conor Walsh taking over from Carol Nelson who in turn had taken over the role from TS Anil when he was made global CEO of the bank.
Walsh joined Monzo from Block’s Cash app, where he previously served as head of global product.
Jordan Sinclair – Robinhood
Speaking of third time lucky, with Robinhood gearing up for yet another attempt at conquering the UK market, a new UK CEO was also required, enter Jordan Sinclair.
Sinclair brings with him some key experience for Robinhood, as he previously served as Freetrade’s director of international expansion.
Dan Schulman – PayPal
After a phenomenal eight-and-a-half years, PayPal CEO Dan Schulman announced in February that he would be leaving the company in December.
Schulman has led PayPal ever since its split from eBay and successfully charted its course as an independent payments company, leading to a tripling of revenues during his tenure.
Dame Alison Rose – NatWest
The ‘debanking’ row over the closure of politician Nigel Farage’s bank account with Coutts (owned by NatWest) exploded after it was revealed that it had been NatWest’s CEO herself who had leaked false information to the BBC over the closure.
While Rose had wrongly tipped the BBC that the decision had been for commercial reasons, the bank’s own records in fact revealed that it had done so in part due to Farage’s political views.
Jan Kemper and Gilles BianRosa – N26
With N26 still under restrictions on its customer growth from the German regulator, slowing its push to profitability, the company remains in a difficult position.
It’s not surprising therefore that the neobank is seeing employee turnover, with its joint chief financial officer and interim chief operating officer Jan Kemper stepping down in January after just 18 months at N26, and its chief product officer Gilles BianRosa leaving after just two years in September.
Alex Marsh – Klarna UK
After leading the UK operations of Klarna for nearly three years, CEO Alex Marsh stepped down in May.
With the UK working to regulate the buy now, pay later sector, Marsh had been a key and vocal spokesperson for the entire industry.
However, the exec said he had decided to prioritise his family instead and dedicate more time to his non-profit, Charterpath.
Sanjiv Somani – JP Morgan Chase
After Chase’s hugely successful launch in the UK, you would think that the exec responsible for that achievement would stick around to enjoy the spoils.
Not so for Sanjiv Somani who abruptly left the US banking giant in August, leaving JP Morgan’s overall head of its International Consumer Banking division Sanoke Viswanathan to take over Chase and Nutmeg.
Jonas Templestein – Monzo
Monzo this year saw its last co-founder depart, with former chief technology officer Jonas Templestein leaving the business he helped start with Tom Blomfield back in 2015.
Templestein plans to spend more time with his family and says he leaves Monzo in rude health, under the tech leadership of new CTO Matej Pfajfar.