86 400 CEO steps down

by Mike Wood12 Oct 2021

86 400 CEO Robert Bell has announced that he will be leaving his post in the new year, just as the digital bank is set to merge with UBank.

Both 86 400 and UBank have been purchased by NAB, and will be integrated into one entity in the new arrangement. UBank CEO Philippa Watson will take over at 86 400 in his place.

Bell wrote a lengthy post on LinkedIn explaining his reasons. “I announced today I'll be stepping down as CEO of 86 400 early in the new year,” he wrote. “I'll do 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.  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.”

“From obtaining a banking license, launching our App, to reaching more than $1 billion in home loans.  We have received multiple awards for innovation, market leading NPS and App ratings and our incredible culture all built and delivered at pace.”
“We set out to help Australians take control of their money, and we’ve certainly achieved that and more – all made possible by a team of amazing people, working together with passion and a shared sense of purpose.” 

“The role of the CEO is often overplayed in the narrative of such success.  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 side line.”

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NAB group COO Les Matheson added: "It has been only five months since NAB’s acquisition of 86 400 was completed and during that time colleagues across NAB, UBank and 86 400 have been working very hard on integrating the UBank and 86 400 businesses."

"In recent months, as we have worked closely with our 86 400 colleagues, we have a developed a deeper understanding of the solutions they’ve built and the speed and innovation which characterises every aspect of the 86 400 business."

"Combining these qualities with UBank’s strong history of serving Australians will help us deliver the next generation of simple, fast and mobile banking solutions for our customers.  We look forward to sharing more of our progress with you as we go."

 "There will be many milestones along the way, including the upcoming transfer of 86 400’s banking assets and liabilities over to NAB which is part of the requirements to have the 86 400 business operate under NAB’s license."

"Subsequent milestones will include the launch of a refreshed brand in the new year, followed by the provision of new technology solutions to our customers so that they can manage their money with greater ease and speed.  We have a packed agenda and it is going to be an exciting year ahead."