Heartland appoints first tech & ops chief

Vaughn Dixon Heartland

Dual ASX- and NZX-listed Heartland Bank, New Zealand’s first bank to acquire an Australian banking licence, has announced the creation of a new chief technology and operations officer role.

Vaughan Dixon, who joins Heartland from Australian non-bank lender and buy now pay later (BNPL) specialist humm group, has been confirmed in the inaugural role. Dixon served just over three years as humm’s chief information officer (CIO).

Heartland said the new role, created specifically for its Australian business, will support the advancement of its “technology and operational growth in Australia and allow us to build a more scalable and efficient operations function into the future”.

“With his strong leadership and experience across both functions, Vaughan’s key priorities are to advance Heartland Bank’s technology and operational growth ambitions and support the enablement and delivery of our best or only products to provide an exceptional experience for our customers,” a Heartland spokesperson said.

The spokesperson confirmed that Dixon will replace Zvonko Balic, the bank’s current chief technology officer for Australia, who will depart from the organisation over coming months. Balic will continue to “provide support over the coming months on some targeted transformation work”.

A 25-year veteran of the financial services sector, Dixon notched up over five years at credit reporting agency Illion (formerly Dun & Bradstreet) with a two-year stint as the firm’s chief technology officer and three years as director of software solutions.

Dixon founded and was chief executive of Decision Intellect, which was subsequently bought out by Dun & Bradstreet in 2015.

He also served just under six months as product consultant at ANZi, ANZ Group’s business incubation lab and corporate venture capital arm, leading and developing the product strategy and build for a new growth venture.

Heartland hailed Dixon’s extensive industry experience in credit risk, decisioning, technology and credit bureaus, noting his specialist skills “in applying technology, analytics and innovation within corporate environments”.

Commenting on his LinkedIn profile, Dixon said he was “excited to be part of the Heartland Bank Australia team as we look to grow our range of specialist banking products that are the best or only of their kind”.

Heartland Bank, part of the New Zealand-based Heartland Group, touts itself as a digital specialist bank.

Heartland entered the Australian market in 2014 with the acquisition of Australian Seniors Finance.

Earlier this year Heartland significantly expanded its Australian footprint with the buy-out of Challenger Bank.