Imran Gulamhuseinwala has resigned as trustee and chair of Open Banking Implementation Entity (OBIE) following allegations of bullying at the organisation.
Former Innovate Finance chief executive Charlotte Crosswell has been nominated as his replacement.
The OBIE is an independent organisation that, following an order by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), was set up in 2017 by the nine largest retail banks in the UK to implement open banking.
An independent investigation into the organisation was launched in September 2020, following a complaint setting out allegations relating to OBIE, Gulamhuseinwala and certain current and former senior staff members of the OBIE.
The report, overseen by independent governance expert Alison White, found that the working environment created a real risk that discrimination, victimisation and harassment could occur and could go unchecked.
The report also said that inaction and failures by the leadership of the OBIE allowed the culture of bullying and intimidation to prevail.
It said the number of interviewees who described the working environment at OBL as “toxic” was overwhelming and there was a number of incidents of alleged bullying and harassment.
The report said that although it did not find evidence of systemic discrimination, victimisation or harassment, some contracts may not have been renewed due to less favourable treatment on grounds of sex or victimisation.
The investigation found that sexist comments and comments that could be perceived as harassment towards women were tolerated in the office while bullying may have been racially motivated.
A number of contractors reported that they feared they would lose their roles if they raised concerns.
The investigation concluded that the CMA, and the nine retail banks who helped establish OBIE, must accept their share of responsibility for the poor governance.
The CMA said the findings will be taken into consideration in relation to the future governance arrangements for open banking, alongside responses received to the CMA consultation earlier this year.
It said a further update on this will be published as a priority and new non-executive directors will be appointed to the OBIE.
The CMA has nominated Crosswell, who earlier this year left Innovate Finance and was appointed as transition lead at OBIE, to replace Gulamhuseinwala as trustee and chair.
Jonathan Scott, chair at the CMA, thanked White for her report and said change is needed.
“This is simply unacceptable and we agree with Alison White that everyone involved needs to accept their share of the responsibility for this and act on the lessons learned,” he said.
“It is clear change is needed. I have accepted the resignation of the implementation trustee, Imran Gulamhuseinwala, and I am today pleased to announce the nomination of Charlotte Crosswell as implementation trustee and chair of the OBIE. Her authority and expertise make her well placed to take on the leadership of the OBIE.
“The CMA has a responsibility to learn lessons from the failings identified in the governance of the OBIE. I am therefore today announcing a review of the lessons to be learned for our approach to designing, implementing and monitoring remedies in market investigations.”