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Morgan Stanley Hikes Its Summer Oil Price Forecast to $94

Morgan Stanley Hikes Its Summer Oil Price Forecast to $94

Geopolitical tensions and tighter supply…

Starling Bank Poaches Ovo Energy Boss Ahead of London Stock Market Debut

Starling Bank has appointed Ovo boss Raman Bhatia to be its permanent chief executive, taking over from interim CEO John Mountain ahead of a planned public listing.

Bhatia is set to join the digital challenger bank in the early summer, subject to regulatory approval. Mountain was named interim CEO after the bank’s founder Anne Boden stepped down as chief executive last June.

She cited a desire to split up her role as a major shareholder and the chief executive. The firm has rebuffed reports of a row between Boden and investors over Starling’s valuation falling by at least £1bn when fund manager Jupiter sold its holding.

Bhatia is due to step down from his current role as chief executive of energy supplier Ovo. He was previously an executive at HSBC, where he was head of digital bank for the group’s retail banking and wealth management business in the UK and Europe.

The bank touted his “wealth of consumer tech and fintech expertise”, including “navigating one of Britain’s leading digitally driven disruptor brands through a period of significant change” at Ovo.

Boden commented: “I am pleased that in Raman we have found someone who can take Starling into its next phase of growth while cherishing the culture and values we have worked so hard to instil in everything we do.”

News of the appointment gives renewed optimism over Starling’s plans for an IPO. The firm, most valued officially at £2.5bn in 2022, put its plans for a London public listing on ice after Boden stepped down.

The CEO of Starling’s software-as-a-service business Engine told City A.M. in December that a stock market float was “still the plan” but there was “no set timeline for it”.

Related: Europe’s Secret Weapon In Its Energy War With Russia

Starling, like rivals Monzo and Revolut, has captured an increasingly bigger slice of the retail banking market in recent years.

Last May, it reported record pre-tax profits of £195m for the year to the end of March 2023 – a more than six-fold increase from the same period the year before. Starling’s revenues doubled to £216m, while its loan book grew nearly 50 per cent to £4.9bn. 

David Sproul, chair of Starling, said on Tuesday: “We see significant opportunities for Starling under Raman’s leadership as the economy stabilises, as our truly differentiated offering for personal and small business customers wins market share in the UK, and as our Engine by Starling software-as-a-service business secures further international contracts.

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“I want to thank John Mountain for his wise stewardship of Starling these past eight months and am delighted that we will continue to benefit from his expertise at the company.”

Bhatia commented: “I am truly honoured to be appointed as the next group CEO of Starling Bank. Starling is a company I have long admired because it believes passionately, like I do, in using the power of technology to do the right thing for its customers and its people. I can’t wait to get started and to see what we can achieve together.”

By City AM 

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