Movers & Shakers, Financial Services | August – September, 2021

Angela Mentis NAB
NAB's newly appointed Chief Digital, Data & Analytics Officer, Angela Mentis

NAB adds to its data and analytics muscle with big-name appointments, while CBA announces the second member of its Distinguished Engineer triumvirate.


National Australia Bank (NAB) has poached Christian Nelissen from fellow Aussie big four bank, CBA, filling a nearly six-month vacancy in the Chief Data Officer role.

Nelissen served two years as CommBank’s CDO. Prior to this, he was Enterprise Data and Analytics chief at Canadian sporting goods giant SVP and head of data at the Royal Bank of Scotland.

The CDO role was left vacant for nearly six months following the departure of Glenda Crisp, who left to join Thomson Reuters in Canada as Head of Data & Analytics.

As a stop-gap, NAB temporarily split the role between two executives while it sought a permanent replacement.

Nelissen is set to commence his new role in early November.


– Earlier in August, NAB also appointed Angela Mentis (pictured) to a newly minted role of Group Chief Digital, Data & Analytics Officer, moving across from the NAB-owned Bank of New Zealand where she served as Managing Director and Chief Executive.

In a statement, NAB said Mentis will focus on delivering digital products and services across the bank, ensuring “the extensive data collected by NAB is used to create better customer experiences and deeper personalisation”.

NAB Chief Executive Ross McEwan praised Mentis as the “ideal person to lead the acceleration of our digital and data agenda” at the bank, offering a “clear understanding of what customers and bankers need”.

Mentis will commence her new role on 1 October.


– Industry super fund, HESTA, has appointed Peter Lawrence as Senior Technology and Digital Strategist.

Lawrence most recently served as Chief Information Officer within the Federal Government’s Department of Defence, a role he held for nearly five years. He also served as CIO at ANZ’s New Zealand branch in the early 2010s.

Commenting on the appointment, HESTA Chief Operating Officer Stephen Reilly said: “We’re excited to have someone of Peter’s depth of experience and talent help continue to build our digital and technology capability”.


– AMP-owned SMSF specialist SuperConcepts has permanently appointed Andy Forbes to the role of Chief Technology Officer. Forbes was initially appointed to the role in February this year on an interim basis.

As head of the CTO team, Forbes will oversee development the SuperConcept’s cloud-based administrative platform SuperMate.

SuperConcepts has also promoted Jim Robinson to Chief Information Officer. Robinson previously served as SuperConcept’s Executive Manager of IT and Cybersecurity. He takes over from Grant Christensen, who stepped up to take on the Chief Executive role last December.


Teachers Mutual Bank has appointed Erica Pickford to the role of Chief Operations Officer and Vicki Leaver as Chief People and Culture Officer.

Pickford joins from lenders mortgage insurance provider Genworth Australia where she served as Head of Operations, responsible for automation, digitisation, and third-party integration initiatives.

Teachers Mutual Chief Executive Steve James praised Pickford’s “expertise in using innovative and emerging technology to deliver the best possible customer experiences”, which he said would be “invaluable for our Bank as we continue our own digital-first transformation”.

Leaver formerly served as Head of Capability and Performance for Employers Mutual Limited.


– CBA’s venture-scaler entity x15ventures has appointed James Wilson as its second of three Distinguished Engineers, part of a dedicated initiative to build out the banking group’s engineering capability.

Wilson joins CBA’s trio of Distinguished Engineers, representing, it says, “the pinnacle of the engineering profession” for CBA. The team will work “to solve complex customer problems as well as embed an engineering and architecture-led approach into CBA’s work culture”.

Wilson joins CBA Chief Information Officer for Technology, Brendan Hopper as one of three Distinguished Engineers to be appointed to the role.


ANZ has appointed Farhan Faruqui as Chief Financial Officer.

Faruqui currently serves as Group Executive International, responsible for ANZ’s institutional business across 19 markets. He joined ANZ in 2014.


CBA has promoted Monique Macleod to the position of Group Executive Marketing and Corporate Affairs. Macleod currently serves as the Chief Marketing Officer.

CommBank CEO Matt Comyn praised Macleod for her “vital role in the revitalisation of the Commonwealth Bank brand and reputation over the past few years”. She is set to step into the role in mid‑September.


AMP Bank has appointed Paul Herbert as Head of Intermediary Distribution and Governance.

Herbert previously served as Head of Lending Distribution at MyState Bank, and prior to that as Chief Executive of The Rock Building Society.

Beyond its current push into virtual webinars for broker and adviser engagement, AMP Bank said it is investing in technology and service enhancements, “with an ongoing focus on automation and digitalisation to make the home loan application process easier for both customers and brokers. Most recently, this includes the simplification of verification of identity requirements.”

Herbert, it said, will be focused on driving continued mortgage growth, strengthening the Bank’s service offering for brokers and advisers, and ensuring it continues to be easy to do business with AMP Bank.

AMP Australia has also appointed Ben Hillier as General Manager, Retirement Solutions.

Hillier will lead the development of financial solutions across the AMP Australia business to support its retirement wealth solutions.


– NSW state insurer icare has appointed Melanie Howard-McDonald to the position of Customer Advocate.

icare says the role will be “central to improving the customer experience across all of the services icare and its partners provide”.

Howard-McDonald will provide recommendations to management on enhancing the end-to-end experience along the entire customer journey.

“This will be a key component of icare’s strategy to focus on customer outcomes across the organisation, ensuring that the people we serve are at the centre of decision-making,” the insurer said in a statement.


Colonial First State has appointed Anthony Lane to serve as Chief Risk Officer.

Lane most recently served as Chief Operating Officer at MLC Wealth for two years.


– Financial advisory ratings and research house Lonsec has permanently appointed Kevin Brennan to the role of Chief Information Officer.

Brennan formerly served as Head of Technology for Westpac’s advice and private wealth arm. He departed the role at the end of 2019, taking a career break. He returned to Lonsec as interim CIO in April this year.

New Zealand

NAB has announced Dan Huggins will fill Mentis’ newly vacated role as BNZ’s Managing Director and Chief Executive. Huggins currently serves as BNZ’s Executive – Customer, Products & Services.

NAB Chief Executive Ross McEwan praised Huggins as “a highly regarded, strategic leader with deep banking experience in Australia and New Zealand. He has played a key role, working with [former BNZ CEO Angela Mentis], in delivering for our BNZ customers and colleagues.”

Huggins will commence his new role on 1 October.


– Aussie Buy Now, Pay Later (BNPL) outfit, Zip Co, has appointed Todd Wackrow as Country Manager of its New Zealand operations.

Wackrow will be responsible for driving New Zealand’s market growth as well as its global expansion, Zip said in a statement.

“New Zealand’s mature BNPL market makes it a fertile ground to test new product innovations and business models, benefiting international Zip markets.”

Wackrow, formerly Zip New Zealand’s Director of Growth, replaces founder and New Zealand Managing Director John O’Sullivan, who will transition to a global role.



Dhana Damodaram, Chief Information Officer of Westpac Asia, has announced he will depart from the organisation after nearly two years in the role.

As CIO, Damodaram led operational technology infrastructure, solutions, and services across Westpac’s Asia arm.

iTnews reports that Damodaram’s responsibilities have been redistributed to other Westpac staff within the leadership team.


FinTech Australia Chief Executive Rebecca Schot-Guppy has announced she will step down from the role in October. Schot-Guppy departs after almost three years at the peak fintech association.

She is set to join IAG’s venture capital arm, Firemark Ventures.


QBE Interim Managing Director Australia Frank Costigan has departed the company.

Costigan joined QBE in 2018 as Chief Customer Officer Personal Lines. He stepped up to run the local operations on an interim basis following the departure of Vivek Bhatia last year.


Revolut Australia has appointed former CUA (now known as Great Southern Bank) Chief Executive Rob Goudswaard as Chair, along with Dee McGrath and Mike Cutter as Advisors, to its newly formed advisory board.

Goudswaard was also a former Non-Executive Director for payments giant Cuscal.

McGrath formerly served as divisional Chief Executive for Link Group, while Cutter currently serves as Chair of Arteva Funding, as well as non-Executive Director of Pepper Money and BNPL platform, Sezzle.


– The Insurance Council of Australia (ICA) has announced a number of changes to its board, including the appointment of Steve Johnston, Group Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director, Suncorp Group.

Richard Enthoven, Chief Executive, Hollard Australia Group, has been appointed Deputy President.

Tim Plant has stepped down as ICA Deputy President and board member following his recent resignation from Zurich Financial Services Australia.

Lisa Harrison, Chief Executive Insurance Product & Portfolio, Suncorp, has stepped down from the ICA board, taking up the role of Chair of the ICA’s new Strategy Committee.

Frank Costigan has also recently stepped down from the ICA Board due to his resignation from QBE.


ANZ has announced Christine O’Reilly will join its Board on 1 November 2021 as non-Executive Director.

O’Reilly currently serves on the boards of BHP, Medibank Private, Stockland and The Baker Heart & Diabetes Institute.


Bendigo and Adelaide Bank has appointed Richard Deutsch as a non-Executive Director effective 20 September 2021.

Deutsch most recently served as Chief Executive of Deloitte Australia.


Wayne Swan has been appointed Chair of Cbus Super.

Swan, the former Federal Treasurer and deputy Prime Minister, replaces Steve Bracks in the role. He commences his new role in January 2022.