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Anne Boden, the chief executive of Starling Bank, is stepping down from her position after nine years since founding the company. This decision comes as the digital

bank reported a record pre-tax profit of £195 million, marking a six-fold increase from the previous year. Boden will officially step down on June 30th but will continue to serve on the board and retain partial ownership of the company.

Starling Bank, one of the prominent challenger banks in the UK, has distinguished itself through its app and customer service, operating without physical branches. Boden's departure was announced alongside the publication of the bank's latest profits for the 2022-23 period.

Expressing her excitement about Starling's growth, Boden stated in an exclusive interview with BBC Wales, "When I look back at how I started Starling, I never thought we would get to this stage. Starling is bigger than just one person; it is bigger than a founder-led organization. It is a piece of infrastructure that is important to the UK. We provide a real role in society."

Boden, who is 63 years old, believes it is "not really appropriate" for a shareholder to continue serving as the bank's chief executive. While she will retain a 4.9% ownership stake and a non-executive director position on the board, Starling Bank has initiated a global search for a new CEO, with John Mountain, the chief operating officer, assuming the role of interim chief executive.

Having expanded from personal accounts to business accounts and acquiring a mortgage book, including Fleet Mortgages, Starling has steadily grown its presence in the banking sector. Boden's decision to launch a bank stemmed from her disillusionment with the industry. She explained, "I had become ashamed to be a banker, I was ashamed to be part of that whole regime that had let the country down. I wanted to do something different, I wanted to found a bank that was really good for customers, that was fair. And people never believed I could do it and be profitable. So here we are, we have done it, proof positive."

Boden expressed her confidence in Starling Bank's continuous growth and its ability to attract customers away from traditional, established banks. She also revealed the bank's eventual plans to list itself on the stock exchange, although the exact timing has yet to be determined.

Boden's success with Starling has made her a role model for women in finance, and she chairs a UK government task force focused on increasing the number of women launching fast-growing businesses. When asked for advice for women in her hometown of Neath who aspire to start their own businesses, she emphasized the importance of perseverance and taking the first step, stating, "Unless you start, you never know." Photo by Charlottelorimer, Wikimedia commons.