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Monzo founder quits challenger bank because of mental health issues

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The founder of challenger bank of Monzo has announced his departure from the company citing mental health issues.

Tom Blomfield, who started the company in 2015, had resigned as chief executive and stepped down from the board in May to take on the newly created role of president.

He asked for help to the bank’s chair Gary Hoffman and investor Eileen Burbidge of Passion Capital after encountering the first issues in 2019, so he could later change roles.

These problems were exacerbated by the pandemic, a time when the company cut tens of employees, closed the Las Vegas office and raised more funding.

“I stopped enjoying my role probably about two years ago… as we grew from a scrappy startup that was iterating and building stuff people really love, into a really important UK bank,” he told TechCrunch.

“I’m not saying that one is better than the other, just that the things I enjoy in life is working with small groups of passionate people to start and grow stuff from scratch, and create something customers love.”

“And I think that’s a really valuable skill but also taking on a bank that’s three, four, five million customers and turning it into a 10 or 20mln customer bank and getting to profitability and IPOing it, I think those are huge, exciting challenges, just honestly not ones that I found that I was interested in or particularly good at.”

Blomfield is not alone but is perhaps one of the few that opened up about the issue: one in five adults in the UK has experienced some form of depression in November, according to the Office for National Statistics Office for National Statistics.

Exactly a year ago, outgoing Lloyds (LON:LLOY) boss Antonio Horta-Osorio opened up about mental health issues amid the bank’s struggles even before COVID-19 broke out.

“I was very mindful that the bank was in a very weak position to face adversity,” he told the BBC.

“It was a problem that was going around my mind constantly, which led me to sleep less and less. And the less and less sleep progressively led me to exhaustion, and then to not sleeping at all which was a form of torture so I had to address it and I did.”

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