Charlotte Crosswell has vowed to improve the workplace culture and corporate governance at the Open Banking Implementation Entity (OBIE) since becoming chair, following Imran Gulamhuseinwala’s exit amidst allegations of bullying at the organisation.
Gulamhuseinwala left after an independent investigation commissioned by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), and overseen by Alison White. The investigation found that the working environment created a real risk that discrimination, victimisation and harassment could occur and could go unchecked.
The CMA nominated Crosswell (pictured), who earlier this year left Innovate Finance and was appointed as transition lead at OBIE, to replace Gulamhuseinwala as trustee and chair.
Crosswell said OBIE has already made some progress on overhauling its employment infrastructure; implementing employment policies and procedures and establishing a dedicated HR function and a culture and values working group.
She said non-executive directors will be appointed to the OBIE board as a priority, to provide appropriate independent scrutiny and oversight. The OBIE will work with the CMA to put the appropriate measures in place surrounding their appointments.
“Firstly, I want to thank everyone who contributed to the review and acknowledge that those must have been difficult conversations to have,” Crosswell said.
“On behalf of OBIE, I want to take this opportunity to sincerely apologise to anyone who feels negatively affected or let down by the issues identified in Ms White’s report.
“In my new role at OBIE, I am committed to turning these learnings into effective and meaningful change both in terms of stronger governance as well as a continued focus on employee values and well-being.
“As part of a transition from a contractor to employee model, the OBIE has already made some progress on overhauling its employment infrastructure; the implementation of employment policies and procedures, the establishment of a dedicated HR function and a culture and values working group.
“The sentiment conveyed to me by an overwhelming number of existing staff is that the OBIE of today is unrecognisable from the negative culture previously described.
“However, the observations and findings of Ms White mean that there is absolutely no scope for complacency. Under my leadership we will commit to working to ensure that there is no repetition of any failings and inadequacies, historical or otherwise.
“Simply put, what happened was unacceptable and can’t happen again. We intend to act swiftly and decisively.”
Crosswell has pledged to help open banking deliver on its mission as a public good by increasing competition and innovation and ultimately securing better outcomes for consumers and businesses.
“OBIE personnel past and present have helped to establish the UK as a recognised world leader in open banking,” she said.
“Four million consumers and small businesses in the UK now use services powered by open banking technology. Everyone that works for the OBIE believes in the mission and that has been powerful and inspiring to witness.
“With the CMA soon to announce next steps towards the model for the future governance of open banking we are at a key inflection point, and I hope this will give us greater clarity and enable us to implement fully the kind of leadership, governance and structure, alongside a supportive, diverse and inclusive culture, that is vital for a progressive and permanent organisation.”