Tom Blomfield, the founder of startup bank Monzo, is leaving the company at the end of the month, citing struggles with pandemic-related stress and frustrations leading a large bank.
TechCrunch reported on Wednesday night that Monzo staff had been informed of Blomfield’s decision to leave the app-only bank.
Blomfield founded Monzo in 2015 as one of Britain’s first digital only banks. He has grown it into one of the most significant challengers to emerge in recent years, with almost 5 million customers.
Blomfield was chief executive of the business until last May when he stepped back to assume the newly created role of president. His decision to step down means he will leave day-to-day operations at the bank but he will retain a stake in the business.
In a candid interview with TechCrunch, Blomfield said the move was motivated by mental health issues linked to the pandemic.
“Going through a pandemic, going through lockdown and the isolation involved in that has an impact on people’s mental health,” he said. “I don’t think I was any different, so I was really struggling.”
The business has faced challenges over the last 12 months due to the onset of COVID-19. The company was forced to lay off staff, write-down its value, and issue a warning about its future as revenues plummeted.
Even before the pandemic, Blomfield said he had been struggling with the transition from running a startup to helming a significant bank.
“I stopped enjoying my role probably about two years ago,” he told TechCrunch.
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Blomfield was replaced as chief executive last year but TS Anil, a banking veteran with stints at Citi, Standard Chartered, Visa, and Capital One under his belt. Since taking over, Anil has launched several new paid-for Monzo products as the company pivots towards trying to make a profit.
A spokesperson for Monzo said: “Tom is an incredible entrepreneur who, with his co-founders, built Monzo from the ground up with a determination to be transparent, put customers first and make money work for everyone.
“Monzo is where it is today because of Tom and his vision to transform banking – he leaves us with the foundations and inspiration to win under TS Anil’s leadership. We’ll miss him very much.”
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