Tyro appoints UBank and Telstra Digital founder Gerd Schenkel as new CEO

- October 20, 2016 2 MIN READ

Tyro Payments, the Sydney-based fintech company looking to become the next big Australian bank, has announced the appointment of Gerd Schenkel as its new CEO, effective October 24. Current CEO Jost Stollmann will move to the position of full-time executive director.

Most recently executive director and founder of Telstra Digital, German-born Schenkel also founded UBank in 2008. The digital bank, a division of National Australia Bank, has around $20 billion in customer balances.

Schenkel said he is excited about the opportunity to build Tyro into a fully fledged bank.

“Tyro is a new kind of company with a uniquely attractive culture; it’s a technology company that happens to be a bank, not the other way around,” he said.

“Australia needs a viable and strong banking sector which is customer centric and technology literate, delivering fair, transparent and smart banking.”

With Tyro last year attaining a banking licence allowing it to accept deposits and lend money to Australian businesses and raising $100 million in a funding round led by Tiger Global, Stollmann said the addition of Schenkel to the team is “the last piece needed to deliver very strong growth in the years ahead”.

With changes to the company’s leadership structure proposed by Stollmann, Schenkel was selected after an “exhaustive” process involving an independent firm.

“When someone of Gerd’s talent becomes available, you grab the opportunity with both hands,” Stollman said.

As a board member and the company’s largest shareholder, Tyro stated Stollmann will continue to play a significant role in defining Tyro’s strategic vision. With the company dubbing itself an “SME champion”, Stollmann will also continue to speak out about issues in the Australian banking sector.

Tyro in August released a report that found banking red tape – “inefficient online business banking processes” – is costing small businesses around Australia four weeks of productive work time a year, with a $7 billion impact on the economy. The company has also advocated for the abolishment of interchange fees.

The company is now working with over 16,000 small businesses across Australia, up from 14,000 last November. It processed $8.6 billion in transactions in the last financial year, generating more than $95 million in revenue.

Praising Stollmann’s decade at the helm of the company, Tyro chairman Kerry Roxburgh said the Board was impressed by Schenkel’s experience and industry knowledge, and regard his appointment as a “coup” for Tyro.

Image: Gerd Schenkel, Jost Stollmann, Kerry Roxburgh. Source: Supplied.