Buzzy finance startup Starling Bank has lost another senior employee amid an exodus of executives

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  • Starling’s head of banking compliance Rachel Coote has quit to join startup Paybase.
  • Coote is the sixth senior employee to leave the buzzy finance company in 2019.The company’s chief financial officer Tony Ellingham has confirmed he will also depart within the next year.
  • Starling downplayed the significance of Coote’s departure in a statement, and said her move was “not a setback.”
  • Word of Coote’s departure comes just as Starling announced it had reached one million accounts.

Buzzy UK finance startup Starling Bank has lost a sixth high-ranking employee this year, amid a backdrop of executive departures.

Rachel Coote, the firm’s former head of compliance for banking services, has quit to take on a similar role at Paybase, a flexible payments startup.

Starling Bank downplayed the significance of Coote’s exit, telling Business Insider that her departure was “not a setback” for the startup.

Starling, founded by banking veteran Anne Boden in 2014, is among the growing crop of neo-banks in the UK and has carved out a space for itself in London’s fiercely competitive fintech scene. Starling provides app-based banking services to consumers and small businesses.

Anne Boden, CEO of Starling Bank.
Starling Bank


The company has raised more than $300 million in funding while battling rivals such as Monzo and Revolut for customers. The firm is planning an expansion into Europe off the back of its capital raises.

Although not C-suite, Coote’s departure comes amid a backdrop of senior departures from Starling this year. The bank’s cofounder and ex-COO Julian Sawyer announced he was leaving in July. That same week, Ben Chisell quit as product director to join rival neobank Oaknorth.

Starling’s former head of SME lending Stuart Doignie also left in May, after less than six months at the company. Jason Wilkinson Brown, a senior figure in the business banking division, also left that month to join TSB, per the Financial Times.

Chief platform officer Megan Caywood quit to join Barclays as global head of digital strategy in January.

On top of this, the company has previously confirmed its CFO, Tony Ellingham, would be stepping down at some point in the next year as part of its “long-term succession planning”.

The exodus of Starling bigwigs comes just as the company confirmed it had opened a million accounts, following an advertising blitz over the past few months. 

The UK’s financial startups have experienced some churn in their senior ranks — not necessarily unusual in a fast-growing and highly competitive field.

Monzo’s COO Tom Foster-Carter announcing he was stepping down to launch a grocery startup last week. Earlier this year, Peter O’Higgins revealed he had quit as Revolut’s CFO, saying it was “time to pass the reigns over”. 

Starling confirmed Coote had left the company, but noted the firm now had more than 700 employees.

A spokeswoman told Business Insider: “Rachel was not a C-suite employee or even the next level down. She was part of a small subteam in one division of the bank.

“We wish her well in her new role, but her departure is not in any way a setback for the bank. Starling is a fast-growing company. Our employee base has more than doubled from 300 at the start of the year to more than 700 as we have surpassed one million accounts. As we grow, our needs change and so does our employee base. This is normal.”

Coote said in a statement:”Working for a challenger bank like Starling in the hyper-growth stage of its development was a very positive launch pad for accelerating my career in fintech and gave me the skills and expertise I need to support Paybase in the next phase of its expansion.”

Anna Tsyupko, CEO of Paybase said in a statement: “The whole fintech ecosystem is experiencing dynamic change and our business is accelerating at pace.

“We’re absolutely thrilled to have Rachel on board at this critical juncture. Her expertise and leadership will be invaluable to the business as we scale. Rachel truly has excellent hands-on experience and will add further value to the team we are building at Paybase. I’m proud to have another senior woman on board to help drive our company further.”

Contact the reporter of this story, Martin Coulter, at mcoulter@businessinsider.com.

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