The Ntrinsic CIO series - Anne Boden CEO of Starling Bank


Senior Recruiter Roger Tomlinson interviews Anne Boden, CEO & Founder of Starling Bank, ...

Senior Recruiter Roger Tomlinson interviews Anne Boden, CEO & Founder of Starling Bank, who, through an impressive and successful career has always followed a progressive vision and broken the mould of gender imbalance in many ways.

Read how inspirational and fascinating Anne’s journey has been: from CIO to COO to CEO & Founder, it seems that her drive can overcome any challenge!

Roger (R): Technology has been a common thread throughout your career, even from the early days when it was far from fashionable! Are you a techy at heart or did you simply see the impact technology would always have in business?

Anne (A): I’m a computer scientist by training and yes, you could say I am a techie at heart.  I’ve always looked to see how technology can be used to deliver better service. I saw early on that banking was in danger of missing out on the digital revolution.  With the advent of mobile phones, people were running their lives on phones, living on social media and buying music on Spotify. Financial services was late to the game and I decided to change that.

R: From a CIO’s perspective you have an enviable track record – CIO to CEO. This has been a discussion point for years – how have you managed it when many have not?

A: A lot of it is about trusting your CIO and letting them get on with it, so that I can be free to focus on the wider responsibilities as CEO. If I didn’t have that trust, it would be a lot harder.

R: Given that technology has played such an important part in your career, how have you remained ‘technology relevant’ in a career of almost 40 years?

A: Starling has a very flat organisational structure and we work in agile, multi-disciplinary teams. I talk to the engineers every day.

R: The gender imbalance of women in senior positions across so many industries is clearly still an issue of real concern. You have broken the mould not only in the technology world but also in the financial services world which is inspirational and fascinating to so many people. Can you share your views and your secret to success?

A: In my first 20-30 years I didn’t think the bar was being held any higher for me than it was for men. However, with the benefit of hindsight, I realise that what I had to do was more than my male peers. Thankfully, at the time, I was oblivious to it and that gave me the energy to continue. It’s like training at altitude - you just get really good at working in a difficult environment.

R: You are now the CEO of a very successful ‘challenger bank’ – in the current market this is as entrepreneurial and innovative as it gets. What is next for you?

A: Right now, I’m focusing on growing Starling’s share of the market for personal and SME banking. There’s so much to do. Fast forward to the distant future - maybe I will find a way of combining my interests in technology with my interest in fashion and fabrics.

This interview with Ann Boden is the third in Ntrinsic’s CIO series. Watch this space for more conversation throughout 2019 and beyond. If you are or know anyone who’d like to be featured, please get in touch, we’d be delighted to have a conversation with you.