Bendigo CEO & MD to depart, successor announced

Richard Fennell

Long-serving chief executive and managing director of Bendigo and Adelaide Bank, Marnie Baker, will step down at the end of August making way for an internal successor, the bank has announced.

Richard Fennell, Bendigo’s current chief customer officer (CCO) for consumer banking, will succeed Baker as the banking group’s next CEO and MD.

Across his 17 years with Bendigo, Fennell has held a number of senior roles, including chief financial officer (CFO),  which was held concurrently with his oversight of the bank’s group strategy and corporate division.

Fennell’s succession follows a similar path to Baker’s, who (back in 2018) was also appointed CEO and MD after several years as chief customer officer.

Commenting on Fennell’s appointment to the top job, Bendigo and Adelaide Bank chair Vicki Carter recognised the veteran banker’s “strong focus on the customer, his achievements in digital and significant financial expertise”.

“Bendigo and Adelaide Bank is in a position of strength and Richard is well placed to lead the next phase of our sustainable growth agenda for the benefit of our customers, our shareholders, our people and our communities,” she said.

Fennell, who has led the bank’s consumer division since 2018, was acknowledged for his contributions to the bank’s digital foundations and its “leading household deposit to loan ratio”.

“His extensive experience leading our branch and third-party networks coupled with his deep understanding of digital, as evidenced by his delivery of the new Bendigo Lending Platform, and many years of experience as the bank’s CFO, will ensure that the bank can continue to deliver sustainable growth, and on its vision to be Australia’s bank of choice.”

Fennell joined the Bendigo group in 2007 after an 18-year career in finance and consulting roles, primarily at consultancy PwC.

Baker retires after 35 years with the Bendigo group, including the last six years as CEO and MD.

Carter acknowledged the outgoing chief’s considerable contributions to the bank, including Bendigo’s significant and ongoing technology transformation program, whilst also steering the bank through frequent natural disasters, the Covid-19 pandemic and record low interest rates.

“[She] oversaw the execution of a significant and necessary transformation agenda which included the consolidation of core banking platforms, brands and divisions,” Carter said.

Joining the bank’s executive team in 2000, Baker held several key roles including, most recently, as chief customer officer, responsible for all customer-facing and direct customer support businesses across the group. As well, she headed Bendigo’s executive corporate resources function, with a broad remit of responsibilities across human resources, information technology, legal, assurance, property and security, procurement, and corporate services.

Baker also previously held roles as chief information officer (CIO), executive of customer voice, executive banking and wealth, and group treasurer.

“Marnie’s authentic leadership style has been a beacon for many during a period of accelerated change for the Bank, its customers and the community,” Carter said.

“Marnie’s passion and advocacy for regional Australia has ensured the Bank stands apart from an increasingly homogenised industry.

“She has done much to highlight the opportunities and challenges facing regional Australia for the benefit of those who call the regions home.

“Marnie will be missed by all.”