Lord Turner brings financial & sustainability experience to OakNorth bank


Business-focused bank OakNorth has appointed Lord Adair Turner as its new Chairman, aiming to leverage the business veteran’s experience in financial services and sustainability.

Turner replaces outgoing Chairman Cyrus Ardalan, who the firm stated has played a ‘crucial role’ in its success. Ardalan steps down as Chairman of the London-based bank after an eight-year tenure, in line with Corporate Governance Code requirements.

Looking ahead, OakNorth hopes that the addition of Turner to its senior management will have an impact on its sustainability commitments, with the bank targeting net zero emissions across its financial projects by 2035.

Rishi Khosla, CEO and Co-Founder of OakNorth, remarked: “Lord Turner’s appointment as our Chairman is an exciting milestone for the business. His expertise will be invaluable as we continue our journey, expanding into new products and services, and supporting our customers in their growth ambitions. 

“Adair joined the FSA as Chairman at the peak of the financial crisis in 2008, so had a front-row seat as to what went wrong and played a central role in writing the regulation to help prevent history from repeating itself. 

“As we broaden our offering to customers with a wider range of business banking products, Adair’s experience across financial regulation will be incredibly useful in ensuring we continue to scale robustly. 

“We are very grateful to Cyrus for his dedication and leadership. He has been a guiding light helping to ensure we could continue to succeed and scale over the years – and help our customers do the same.”

OakNorth is a business-focused institution, specifically providing funding and financial services to scaling businesses with revenue of between £1m-£100m. The aforementioned net zero commitment applies to the businesses it supports with loans and personal savings accounts.

Turner’s experience before joining the firm has included extensive experience in environmental operations, having served as the Chair of the Committee on Climate Change. 

He also currently sits as the Chair of both Chubb Europe and the Energy Transitions Commission and is a Non-Executive Director (NED) of Japan-based battery developer AESC.

Outside of environmentalism and sustainability, Turner’s experience also includes financial services, with notable positions held being Vice-Chairman of Merrill Lynch Europe, Board Director of Standard Chartered, Chair of the Financial Services Authority (FSA), a member of the Court of the Bank of England, and a founder member of the Financial Policy Committee.

His background of joining the FSA – the remit and responsibilities are now covered by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) – came just days after the collapse of Lehman Brothers amidst the 2007 financial crisis.

This experience may prove invaluable to OakNorth as the UK faces warnings of entering another period of recession, whilst consumers across the country continue to deal with the challenges of a cost of living crisis.

Turner said: “I’ve been following OakNorth’s impressive growth story since I first met Rishi Khosla and Joel Perlman back in 2014, and am excited by the opportunity to support its continued success. 

“The business has impressive growth plans, as well as ambitious plans for sustainability – notably to be net zero for all its emissions by 2035, which will involve a huge amount of work with its customers. I look forward to working with the talented OakNorth team.”