CBA appoints replacement for Harte


The Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) has named David Whiteing as the new Group Executive, Enterprise Services and Chief Information Officer, replacing Michael Harte, who is leaving the bank to join Barclays as its Chief Operations and Technology Officer.

Whiteing, who is currently Head of Architecture and Planning team in Enterprise Services, will commence his role in mid-July.  He will lead CBA’s technology and Operations teams to build on investments in technology and ensure on-going innovation, according to a press release.

Whiteing joined CBA in September 2013 from BP in the United Kingdom, with CBA Group’s CEO Ian Narev saying his appointment continues the bank’s record of promoting internally.

According to Gilles Ubaghs, Senior Analyst at Ovum, the choice of an internal candidate is indicative of the stability of CBA’s IT strategy and a reluctance to disturb what has proven to work well so far.

"Hiring an outsider may have caused greater instability, but by going internal, the new CIO will be well versed in the current strategy. CBA still faces challenges as launching new innovations is never easy, but this appears to be a clear “steady-as-she-goes” approach in the face of any turbulent waters they may face," he said.

In the release CBA CEO Ian Narev said Whiteing will bring both overseas and local experience to the role, “David is a highly experienced business and IT executive with a track record of delivering technology and process transformation in many industries, including financial services, both in Australia and overseas.”

CBA plans to continue to focus on technology and productivity as long-term strategic priorities, Narev added.

Prior to his departure, Harte was responsible for CBA’s successful core banking system modernisation program, and known for his role in the bank’s decision to be a leader in the application of technology, which has been reported to give the CBA a head start in technology adaption.

Harte always maintained the importance of CBA being a world leader in the application of technology into products, with CBA taking this on as a core strategic priority for the group.

At the time of Harte’s departure, analysts said he would leave the bank well positioned to build on the success of its core modernisation program.

Ubaghs said he did not think Harte’s departure will be to the CBA’s detriment, “now they need to build upon his legacy of innovation. They are now in a different phase,” he said.