After leading the first bank to list on the ASX in 30 years, Judo co-founder Healy to resign

After leading the first bank to list on the ASX in 30 years, Judo co-founder Healy to resign

CEO Joseph Healy (pictured) will make way for fellow co-founder Chris Bayliss to lead Judo Bank.

Judo Capital (ASX: JDO) has announced the co-founder and CEO of Judo Bank, Joseph Healy, will step aside on 18 March to make way for another co-founder - deputy CEO and chief relationship officer Chris Bayliss - to lead the company.

Today's announcement coincided with a strong December half result for the challenger bank, which unlike some others in the Australian neobank movement has managed to avoid being bought out by the Big Four (86 400 by NAB) or meeting its demise (Volt).

Gross loans and advances rose by 9 per cent to $9.7 billion in the period while profit before tax (PBT) jumped by 24 per cent to $67.4 million. Judo has provided guidance of a much higher PBT still in the current financial year of $107-112 million.

To assist in the leadership transition, Healy will remain with the company he co-founded in 2016 until the 28 June.

According to figures from the most recent annual report, as at 30 June 2023 the outgoing CEO held almost 35 million shares in JDO, which at the current market price would be worth almost $42 million.

Judo Bank chairman Peter Hodgson has commended Healy for his exceptional leadership and vision.

"Joseph is a visionary who recognised that SMEs were being underserved by our Australian banks. Under Joseph’s leadership, Judo has changed Australia’s banking industry for the better, and reawakened the industry's appetite to lend to Australian businesses. He is leaving a great legacy," Hodgson explains.

"Joseph has successfully led the bank through all its important foundational milestones since 2016 - proving the customer value proposition, recruiting an industry leading team, obtaining a banking licence, raising $1.5 billion in equity, and transitioning the bank to the public equity markets.

"Judo is the first bank to list on the ASX in 30 years, and to reach profitability in three years, making it the fastest start-up bank to achieve this globally."

Auswide Bank (ASX: ABA) technically listed in 1994, however at the time it was a building society and only changed to a banking structure in 2015. BNK Banking Corporation (ASX: BBC) listed in 2012 under its former name of Goldfields Money, but its market capitalisation is less than $46 million, or less than 4 per cent of the size of Judo.

Hodgson says that as one of the co-founders of Judo Bank, along with an exemplary career in international banking, Bayliss is strongly aligned to the purpose and vision of Judo Bank as it continues on its path to become a world class SME business bank for the underserved SMEs of Australia.

"Since the very beginning, Chris has been a key leader in building our bank. He has worked tirelessly and with clear purpose and drive across every corner of Judo as it has grown in both strength and size," says the chairman.

"He has held positions of chief operating officer, chief financial officer, chief relationship officer and deputy CEO of Judo. In each of these roles, he has applied his 40 years of business and retail banking experience, which has played an enormous part in building the bank we see today - a bank on a clear path to becoming a scale player in the Australian financial landscape."

Prior to co-founding Judo Bank, Bayliss had experience in senior executive positions at Standard Chartered Bank in Singapore, National Australia Bank, Bank of New Zealand, and Yorkshire/Clydesdale Bank in the UK.

"Chris has a deep understanding of relationship banking along with the energy for people leadership that will help Judo Bank achieve its next phase of growth and scale, and we’re conscious of the seamless transition this internal appointment will bring for the business," Hodgson says.

The incoming CEO highlights the increasingly important role that Judo Bank has to play for Australian SMEs, and says it has been an "absolute privilege" to work alongside Healy to build such a unique bank.

"A big part of what we see today, is credit to his unwavering determination to push through and demand more for the SME community," Bayliss says.

"He can be proud to have been a crucial pillar for a business that now serves over 4,000 SME customers with close to $10 billion in lending, and an industry leading team who have never been more excited about the prospects for this company."

Healy has also commended the appointment of Bayliss as his successor, ensuring a a clear and orderly internal leadership transition.

"Chris brings all that Judo needs for its next phase of growth - a deep history of our business, a passion for customers and our purpose, an unparalleled breadth of experience in all aspects of banking, and outstanding, proven leadership skills which will continue to drive the Judo team and to challenge the traditional banking landscape and deliver more for our SME customers. The business is in great hands," he says.

"I extend my sincere thanks to the entire Judo team for their support and commitment to our great business. My time at Judo has been the highlight of my career and I am sure that the best is still to come for Judo."

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