Starling’s Anne Boden named CEO of the year at Digital Masters Awards

Anne Boden, the chief executive of Starling Bank

Credit: Rii Schroer

Ann Boden, the boss of Starling Bank, has been named as chief executive of the year at the Digital Masters Awards, having been selected by some of Europe’s leading venture capital firms.

Ms Boden landed the prestigious prize after beating off competition from names including MessageBird chief executive Robert Vis and the boss of online will startup Farewill, Dan Garrett. 

Executives from companies including Accel, Balderton, Hoxton Ventures and KKR selected the winners in the categories, which also included "excellence in finance" and "excellence in technology".

The awards were presented virtually this year, due to Covid-19 restrictions.

It is the seventh year the awards have been run, organised by executive search firm The Up Group. Last year, chief executive of the year went to Clare Gilmartin, from Trainline.com.

Ms Boden picks up the award after a year in which Starling Bank finally managed to become profitable, netting £800,000 in profit in October.  This made it the first digital challenger bank to make money, and was seen as a landmark moment for the fintech sector given growing pressure from the Bank of England for digital banks to deliver sustainable business models. 

Anne Boden CV

Starling is understood to be on the hunt for new investors, and earlier this month hired bankers at Rothschild for a £200m funding round.

The cash is expected to be used for its marketing budget and to drive international expansion.

The company last raised in May, securing £40m from existing investors, at which time Ms Boden said that "funding from our existing investors demonstrates their commitment both to Starling and to our small business and personal customers who need our support now more than ever". 

Ms Boden said she was "very excited to have this honour". "I remember going to these awards four or five years ago, and really thinking this is the world of venture digital and I have a chance of actually building a digital bank…. And we’ve done it, and I’m so excited. This is the start, think of what we could do in the future."

Other winners included Rahma Javed, director of engineering at Deliveroo, who received the award for excellence in technology having helped the company step to the challenge of delivering food during the pandemic.

The award for excellence in marketing was given to TransferWise’s Joe Cross and Piers Stobbs at Cazoo was recognised for his excellence in data. A full list of winners can be found here.

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