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When a FinTech CEO steps down (#Monzo)

In any business, there are different movers and shakers. Some can create momentum; some can maintain momentum; some create ideas; some kill ideas; some run the business; some change the business; and so on and so on and so on.

I’m an ideas guy. I could never run a business. I mean, I do run a business, my business, but I don’t do admin or operations. It’s the old Herrmann’s brain thing. Are you familiar with that?

Just in case, if not, it’s all about the dominant part of the brain creating different movers and shakers. Some are analytical, some are process-driven, some are communicators and some are visionary. Just in case that’s not clear, here’s Herrmann’s brain model:



A) BLUE: Analytical thinking

Key words : logical, factual, critical, technical and quantitative.

Preferred activities : collecting data, analysis, understanding how things work, judging ideas based on facts, criteria and logical reasoning.

B) GREEN: Sequential thinking

Key words : safekeeping, structured, organized, complexity or detailed, planned.

Preferred activities : following directions, detail oriented work, step-by-step problem solving, organization and implementation.

C) RED: Interpersonal thinking

Key words : Kinesthetic, emotional, spiritual, sensory, feeling.

Preferred activities : listening to and expressing ideas, looking for personal meaning, sensory input, and group interaction.

D) YELLOW: Imaginative thinking

Key words : Visual, holistic, intuitive, innovative, and conceptual.

Preferred activities : Looking at the big picture, taking initiative, challenging assumptions, visuals, metaphoric thinking, creative problem solving, long term thinking.


Why mention this today? Because different people are needed at different stages of a business. In early days, you need vision and imagination; in later phase, you need analysis and procedures. It’s the whole way in which the child grows into the man; once you become The Man, you become the target of the child. It’s the reason why Facebook, PayPal and co are now viewed as The Man by the children of the FinTech community.

However, the real reason I mention this today is that there was a headline last week of Tom Blomfield becoming President of Monzo and stepping back from the CEO role. Various media reported this in positive and negative headlines, and various social media commentators commented on this in positive and negative ways.

For me, it’s a natural move of a business founder who realises that the business is now mature enough to need someone with different skills. In fact, any company run by the same person from start to finish is probably going to suffer. Bill Gates realised this as did Jack Ma. Not sure about Jeff Bezos but, even if the company is mature, it’s likely that the day-to-day operations are now run by others. Just look at Google, where Serge Brin and Larry Page knew they needed someone to run the business – Eric Schmidt; or look at companies like Disney where, even way back when, Walt knew that he did the visionary stuff but needed his brother Roy to run the business.

Therefore, in fact, Tom’s stepping down from Monzo is purely the sign of a business that is growing up.

About Chris M Skinner

Chris M Skinner
Chris Skinner is best known as an independent commentator on the financial markets through his blog, TheFinanser.com, as author of the bestselling book Digital Bank, and Chair of the European networking forum the Financial Services Club. He has been voted one of the most influential people in banking by The Financial Brand (as well as one of the best blogs), a FinTech Titan (Next Bank), one of the Fintech Leaders you need to follow (City AM, Deluxe and Jax Finance), as well as one of the Top 40 most influential people in financial technology by the Wall Street Journal’s Financial News. To learn more click here...

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