Bank CEO to step down

Head of bank makes shock announcement on social media

Bank CEO to step down

The CEO of 86 400, Robert Bell, has announced he is planning to step down from early next year and will be following the future growth of the bank’s merger with UBank from the sidelines.

Bell made the shock announcement this morning on his LinkedIn page, saying he was doing so “with an enormous amount of pride in what the team have been able to build together.”

“As the founding CEO nearly four years ago, we set out to change banking in Australia,” he said. “Building and then growing a new bank from scratch has dominated my thoughts (day and night) over the past four years, but all the hard work, long hours and challenges have been balanced with an equal amount of fun, so many incredible moments, firsts and achievements.”

He referred to the bank’s many milestones along the way, such as obtaining a banking license, launching its App and achieving more than $1 billion in home loans, while giving kudos to the whole 86 400 team.

“The role of the CEO is often overplayed in the narrative of such success,” he said. “I’m hugely grateful for having had the opportunity to be a part of that success but the credit needs to go to each and every one of the 86 400 team, past and present, and our many partners who have worked with us along the way.

“With NAB’s full support and UBank/86 400 coming together next year, I’ll be following the future success from the sideline.”

NAB group chief operating officer Les Matheson confirmed that UBank CEO Philippa Watson would assume responsibility for the role once 86 400's banking assets and liabilities were transferred over to NAB as part of the requirements for 86 400 to operate under NAB’s banking license.

“UBank CEO Philippa Watson will assume responsibility for both UBank and 86 400, with the 86 400 management team reporting directly to Philippa,” he wrote in an internal note to staff. “Having led UBank since mid-2020, and with deep expertise in consumer banking Philippa is well placed to lead the integration and growth of the businesses.  Philippa and Rob will manage the transition over the coming months to coincide with 86 400’s banking license transfer to NAB.”

On Bell’s departure Matheson said,

“Having spent more than four years building 86 400 into the remarkable business it is today, Rob is keen to pursue new endeavours outside of 86 400 and we support him in this. We know Rob will leave the organisation proud of having led the 86 400 team to strong foundations, outstanding technology offerings, true innovation, and a very unique and positive culture, and that he will follow the 86 400/UBank journey with interest and his best wishes. 

“86 400’s chief product and marketing officer Travis Tyler will also move on to new opportunities in early 2022. We thank him for his valuable contribution and wish him well.”