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Revolut has appointed a new chief executive to lead its UK entity as one of the country’s most valuable fintechs awaits a key final decision on its bid for a banking licence in its home market.

The fintech has appointed Francesca Carlesi, founder and chief executive of digital mortgage lender Molo, to lead Revolut NewCo UK, the entity that has applied for a UK banking licence. She will start the job in December, Revolut said.

Carlesi, who launched digital lender Molo in 2017, has previously held roles at Deutsche Bank and Barclays, as well as at McKinsey and Bridgepoint Capital. Her predecessor James Radford left Revolut in March after three years with the company, to lead financial services at virtual network operator Lycamobile.

“Revolut is the future of digital banking . . . There are so many growth opportunities and I couldn’t be more excited to be leading the way for the UK. We have big things planned,” said Carlesi.

Her appointment comes at a turbulent time for the company, which in September was granted an extension for its annual results for the second year in a row and is still awaiting a crucial decision on its banking licence in the UK, more than two years after applying for one. Its auditor BDO warned earlier this year that its revenues were at risk of being “materially misstated” in its delayed 2021 accounts.

Richard Holmes, chair of Revolut UK, said: “As a founder of her own fintech, and having spent many years across the banking industry, Francesca knows what it takes to challenge the banking incumbents, and I look forward to celebrating her successes here in the months to come.”

Carlesi’s appointment also comes after the fast-growing fintech was hit by a series of senior departures. Chief financial officer Mikko Salovaara said earlier this year he was leaving the digital app “for personal reasons” after two years in the job, joining Estonian ride-hailing company Bolt a few months later.

Non-executive director Kitty Ussher, a former MP and economic secretary to the Treasury, stepped down from the fintech’s board earlier this week to take up a new role as managing director at Barclays.

“Obviously my new role means I must also, with equal sadness, step down from my role as a non-executive director on the UK subsidiary board of Revolut,” Ussher wrote in a post on LinkedIn. “I have loved being on that rocket ship for the last four plus years . . . and have no doubt that the organisation has a very exciting future.”

Revolut confirmed Ussher’s departure and thanked her for her contribution to the company.

Revolut first applied for a UK banking licence in January 2021 and received a European banking licence from the Bank of Lithuania in December that year. Securing a licence in its home market would allow it to offer new services to its nearly 8mn clients in the UK and give it a regulatory seal of approval that would help it in other markets.

Additional reporting by Siddharth Venkataramakrishnan

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