Movers & Shakers, Financial Services | September – October, 2023

Laura Mercurio
Newly appointed Blockchain Australia chief Laura Mercurio

NZ’s Financial Markets Authority (FMA) restructures its senior committee, moves to recruit three new senior leaders; Cover-More lands new CTO; and the ACCC appoints next Deputy Chair.


ANZ has announced an expanded remit for its Group Technology (Gerard Florian) and Group Strategy (Antony Strong) heads in an effort, it says, to “accelerate both the transformation of the Group [and] the development of common business services across ANZ”.

Alongside his current role as ANZ’s Group Executive Technology, which he has held since 2017, Florian will now take on additional responsibilities for Group Services, including overseeing the design and governance of ANZ’s enterprise-wide business services. Among these include payments, retail and wholesale credit and ‘Know your customer’ (KYC) processes.

The bank will also expand the role of its Group GM for Strategy, Antony Strong, with Strong to assume the new title of Group Executive Strategy and Transformation.

In a statement, ANZ said Strong, who has led Group Strategy since 2012, will take on expanded accountability to coordinate and drive the ongoing transformation of ANZ.

“This includes driving further productivity across the Group, delivering enterprise-wide benefits from cloud migration and enterprise business services as well as having responsibility for delivering customer benefits from ANZ’s 1835i investment portfolio.”


HSBC Australia has appointed Taryn Barry as its new Head of Open Banking.

Barry, who announced her new role on LinkedIn, makes the move from Newcastle Permanent, having served as the mutual bank’s Open Banking product head over the last two years.

Across her 14-year stint at Newcastle Permanent Building Society, Barry held a number of roles, beginning as a branch manager in 2008, and as Product Manager – Her most recent role as Product Owner – Open Banking commenced in 2020.

“I’m happy to share that I’m starting a new position as Head of Open Banking at HSBC!”, Barry wrote on her LinkedIn page.

“After 14 wonderful years at NPBS, I am ready and excited to take on this new opportunity working in the Open Banking space – the future of banking.”

HSBC’s Australian arm offers a range of retail, wholesale and private banking as well as investment services, including trade finance, treasury and financial markets, global payments solutions, asset management and securities custody.


– After a five-month wait, health insurer HBF has announced its next Chief Executive, appointing Dr Lachlan Henderson to the role.

Henderson currently serves as Group CEO of Victoria’s largest not-for-profit private hospital group, Epworth HealthCare, appointed to the role in 2017. He has more than 30 years’ experience in health services as a general practitioner and in clinical and managerial roles.

HBF Chair Diane Smith-Gander praised Henderson as “an outstanding candidate with a wealth of knowledge gained in the healthcare industry across both practising and managerial roles, proven leadership experience, and cultural alignment having worked at not-for-profit organisations”.

Simon Walsh, who stepped in as HBF interim CEO following the resignation of John Van Der Wielen back in May, will remain in the role until Henderson officially begins in February 2023.


– The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has appointed Catriona Lowe as ACCC Deputy Chair, with current Deputy Chair Delia Rickard to step down in January 2023 at the conclusion of her second five-year term.

ACCC Chair Gina Cass-Gottlieb said she was “delighted” with Lowe’s appointment, noting she is “exceptionally well qualified to be appointed to this position”.

“In her varied roles as a regulator, litigator and consumer advocate, Catriona has demonstrated a strong commitment to consumer issues and protection of consumer rights over many years,” Cass-Gottlieb said.

Lowe currently serves as a board member of the Australian Energy Regulator, and was previously co-Chief Executive of the Consumer Action Law Centre. She is well acquainted with the competition regulator, having previously served as Chair of the ACCC’s Consumer Consultative Committee.

In her new role, Lowe will chair the ACCC’s Compliance and Product Safety Committee and will participate in a range of other ACCC committees and boards.

Cass-Gottlieb also paid tribute to outgoing Deputy Chair Delia Rickard, who was widely recognised for her expertise and experience in the financial services industry. Rickard is set to step into a new role on the Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA) board.

“Delia has demonstrated a tireless focus on the welfare of consumers, especially vulnerable consumers. Her advocacy on scam prevention and product safety at the ACCC has been particularly important,” Cass-Gottlieb said.

“We will miss Delia’s formidable experience, wisdom and passion. There is probably no other person who has made as long-standing and significant [a] contribution to the consumer protection work of the ACCC.”


– Zurich Insurance-owned travel insurance provider Cover-More Group has appointed Lisa Hilton as its Chief Technology Officer.

Hilton, who most recently served as Head of Technology at QBE Insurance for just over three years before her departure in July this year, announced her new role on her LinkedIn page.

Tech publisher iTnews reports that, as Cover-More CTO, Hilton will lead the development and delivery of its global technology strategy, as well as the insurer’s architecture and engineering practices.

Hilton will report to Cover-More’s Group Chief Information Officer, Conor Breslin, who was appointed to the role in October 2021.

Prior to her role at QBE, Hilton served as Head of Technology at Origin Energy.

She has also held multiple program manager roles across several financial services organisations, including Westpac, Aussie Home Loans, Teach Mutual Bank and BT Financial.


Blockchain Australia has appointed Laura Mercurio as its next Chief Executive, replacing the longstanding face of the peak body, Steve Vallas.

Vallas announced he would step down in July this year after two years in the role.

Well recognised as one of the key faces of the blockchain industry in Australia, Vallas will remain as Managing Director of Blockchain APAC.

In an announcement on her LinkedIn page, Mercurio wrote that she is “looking forward to working with the blockchain community to be the leading voice to drive innovation and change for Australian businesses in the blockchain space”.

Blockchain Australia said Mercurio’s appointment was “timely” as the industry heads “into a period of significant regulatory and policy consultation that will shape the regulatory future of digital assets in Australia”.

Mercurio will guide Blockchain Australia “in its ongoing mission to be the leading voice for digital assets” and build out its membership via working with governments and regulators to “shape the future of blockchain technology and digital assets,” the peak body said.

She added that she is “extremely excited to be taking on the role of CEO of Blockchain Australia, to be the leading voice in this maturing industry and to drive innovation and change for Australian businesses in the blockchain space”.

Mercurio currently sits on the board of HerTechPath, which promotes the active participation of women in the tech sector, and has extensive experience in corporate and technology consulting, most recently as AMP as a Senior Transformation Consultant.


The Council of Australian Life Insurers (CALI) has appointed Christine Cupitt as the new peak body’s first Chief Executive, commencing in January 2023.

Cupitt has served eight years at fellow peak body, the Australian Banking Association (ABA), most recently as Chief of Policy and Strategy.

“Life insurance plays an essential role in Australia’s community and economy, and I am delighted to be leading CALI and supporting the industry to meet stakeholder expectations and deliver excellent outcomes for customers,” she said.

“I look forward to working with consumer representatives, regulators, government and other industry associations on issues critical to the life insurance industry.”

CALI Co-Chairmen, AIA Australia Chief Executive Damien Mu and TAL Group Chief Executive Brett Clark, said her appointment is a “significant milestone” in the establishment of the organisation.

“[Her] considerable experience and her senior leadership role at the ABA through a time of significant change across the banking industry places her well to lead CALI’s work in shaping the industry’s direction and continuing to meet the evolving needs and expectations of our customers, partners, stakeholders, and the community,” they said.

“[Ms Cupitt’s] deep experience across banking, wealth, and insurance gives her a unique perspective and ability to ensure CALI is set up for success to advocate for Australians to have access to appropriate, affordable, and sustainable life insurance protection.”

Australia’s life insurers announced in June the creation of CALI serving as a “collective voice” of the industry, which until now has been represented by the Financial Services Council.


– Global insurance and risk group Aon has appointed Adam Peckman to lead Cyber Solutions for the Asia Pacific region.

The role brings together cyber broking, security advisory, incident response and risk consulting capabilities across Singapore, Hong Kong, Japan, Australia and New Zealand.

Aon said the role will be charged with driving the growth of its business in Australia and the APAC region, as well as address new exposures in cybersecurity arising from digitalisation.

Peckman, who is based in Singapore, will also retain his existing position as Aon’s Global Head of Cyber Risk Consulting practice, which provides governance and strategic direction for cyber consulting resources in the Americas, the UK, EMEA, and Asia Pacific.

“At Aon, we are building these capabilities – around our Cyber Loop model – to deliver more integrated solutions to meet the complex needs of clients,” Peckman said.

“Our focus on strengthening collaboration across the cyber solutions teams in Asia Pacific and globally will ensure we bring the best of our cross-functional capabilities to guide clients through the growing challenges of cyber security.

“Our integrated cyber portfolio will deliver the analysis, insights and solutions across the region to empower our clients to build sustainable cyber resilience amid increasing volatility.”

Peckman joined the business in 2011 and has held a number of senior roles in London and New York, including heading the creation of Aon’s first cyber consulting practice in 2016 as the global practice leader.


Swiss Re has appointed Trent Thomson as its Australia and New Zealand Head.

The role will see Thomson serve as Branch Manager of Swiss Re Asia, Australia Branch, Managing Director for Swiss Re Life and Health Australia and Country President of Australia and New Zealand.

Thomson currently serves as Property and Casualty head in Australia and New Zealand, having joined the company back in 2004.

He steps into the role vacated by Sharon Ooi, who was recently appointed as a member of Hannover Re’s group executive board overseeing the expansion of the reinsurer’s Property & Casualty reinsurance business in Asia-Pacific.

A 25-year veteran of underwriting, portfolio management, client sales, Swiss Re Chief Executive Reinsurance Asia Paul Murray praised Thomson’s “deep understanding of the market” and “proven experience”.

“Trent is well-positioned to lead the team in delivering high-quality services to support our clients’ success in this important market.”


QBE Insurance has appointed Tracey Harris in the newly created role of Chief Governance and Executive Operations Officer, Australia Pacific.

As part of her new role, Harris will lead Australia Pacific’s governance accountabilities and oversee legal, marketing, insights and first-line risk teams. She will also oversee management of the Office of the CEO Australia Pacific.

Harris most recently served as Chief Operating Officer of Sedgwick Australia. She has also held executive leadership roles at EML, Cover-More Group (Australia and China) and the Careflight Group.

Notching up two decades’ experience in insurance, health and emergency assistance organisations, QBE Australia Pacific Chief Executive Sue Houghton praised Harris’s “exceptional leadership track record”.

“Tracey is recognised as a highly engaged and strategic leader who builds a culture of success through critical thinking and focusing on people, performance and customer outcomes. These focuses closely align with QBE’s own and we’re excited to see these synergies unfold.”


New Zealand

– The Financial Markets Authority (FMA) – Te Mana Tātai Hokohoko has announced key changes to its executive leadership team, with the creation of six new roles in its senior committee.

FMA Chief Executive Samantha Barrass said the new leadership structure would provide a “simpler organisational design where senior leaders work at the right strategic level, supporting stronger collaboration across high-performing, functional teams”.

The FMA new enterprise leadership will consist of six executive-level roles reporting directly to Barrass, with, currently:

  • Liam Mason appointed as Executive Director, Evaluation & Oversight; Mason will also continue as General Counsel. He will be responsible for a broad range of audit, risk, legal and governance matters along with evaluating the effectiveness of regulatory interventions and activity;
  • Paul Gregory appointed as Executive Director, Response & Enforcement, Executive Director, Response & Enforcement. The role will determine the strategy and appropriate response to actions and behaviour of market participants that pose risk or harm, including the investigation and enforcement of misconduct cases;
  • Clare Bolingford as Executive Director, Regulatory Delivery, responsible for directing, planning and delivery of the FMA’s core regulatory functions across licensing, influencing and supervision of regulated individuals and firms.

The FMA will also commence recruitment for three additional roles:

  • Executive Director, Strategy & Design, responsible for leading the strategy and direction setting for the FMA, ensuring a clear view of the systems, priorities and regulatory design is developed with, and communicated across the whole organisation;
  • Executive Director, Transformation & Operational Delivery, responsible for the group including finance, operations, and people and capability, that provides internal support to enable the whole of the FMA;
  • and Executive Director, Te Ao Māori, which will help the regulator embed Te Ao Māori (the Māori language) into its activities and “ensure we fulfil our role as a kaitiaki of financial services in Aotearoa”. The agency added that “more work is needed to scope this function before a permanent appointment is sought for this role”.

The FMA noted that its current Executive Committee will be disestablished early in the new year with the new structure will take effect at the same time.

Barrass said the new leadership structure was designed to ensure the regulator “is best positioned to accelerate our growth and transformation plans as we prepare for a larger role focused on outcomes for consumers of financial services in Aotearoa”.

“We are evolving and growing to deliver our existing responsibilities, alongside the increase of our legislative mandate.”

As part of the leadership change, Sarah Feehan, who led the People and Capability function for five years, will now “take up a similar senior leadership people role reporting to the new Executive Director, Transformation & Operational Delivery”, Barrass said.

James Greig (formerly Director of Supervision) will also play a supporting role in the transition to the FMA’s new structure, Barrass added.

Brad Edley, who has served as Chief Operating Officer over the last six years, announced his resignation from the FMA, stepping down on 23 September.

John Botica, who currently serves as Director of Market Engagement, steps in as interim Chief Operating Officer. To reflect his combined roles, Botica assumes the title of Director of Regulation and Operations.

Barrass concluded: “All these individuals are held in the highest regard and respect by our staff and the FMA board, and have each played a significant part in our success, over many years of service to the agency”.


– The Bank of New Zealand (BNZ) has appointed Mike Jones as its new Chief Economist, set to commence in the role at the end of October.

Jones most recently served as Senior Economist at CBA-owned bank ASB. He returns to BNZ after 10 years, serving between 2009 and 2013 as the bank’s Foreign Exchange Strategist. Since then, he has worked in a variety of roles including General Manager, Treasury Risk Management at Fonterra; Director, Corporate Sales at Westpac.

BNZ Head of Research Stephen Toplis, praised Jones as a “highly respected economist with a wealth of experience in applied macroeconomics, analytics, econometrics and modelling.

“His strong skillset and ability to deliver research that is relevant and accessible to a diverse range of audiences will help us further our commitment to serving our customers brilliantly and helping our communities prosper.”


Tower Limited has appointed Geraldine McBride as a Non-Executive Director to its board, effective from 1 October.

Tower acknowledged McBride’s extensive governance and technology industry experience having served in senior leadership roles internationally with SAP, Dell and IBM.

McBride is also founder and CEO of MyWave, a software and services company developing consumer and enterprise relationship solutions using personal cloud technologies. She also sits on the board of Sky Network Television Limited.

“The board is confident that Geraldine’s considerable expertise in digital technology, customer experience and transformational leadership will contribute positively to Tower’s continued success and growth,” Tower Chair Michael Stiassny said.

McBride replaces Warren Lee who is set to retire from the Tower board.


TSB Bank has appointed Melanie Templeton as Director.

TSB acknowledged Templeton’s extensive governance experience, spanning both public and private sectors in fintech and agtech industries and digital banking.

Templeton most recently served as the Chair of PledgeMe Ltd, and as an Independent Director and Chair of the Audit and Risk Committee for MTF Finance Ltd and Xerra Ltd. She has also been a Committee Member on Inland Revenue’s Risk and Assurance Committee since 2017.

TSB board Chair, Mark Darrow recognised Templeton’s “impressive CV and governance experience”

“Melanie’s expertise is another important step in helping TSB leapfrog into the future, with the digital transformation we want and need in order to be the easiest bank to deal with.”

“We have big aspirations and the board will play an important role in helping harness these opportunities and support TSB into its next phase of growth and development.”


Australian Retirement Trust (ART) has announced the appointment of Andrew Fraser as board Chair following the retirement of Don Luke.

Fraser was appointed as independent Director of Sunsuper in September 2015, and as Sunsuper Chair in February 2018. He has served as a director on the ART board since February.

Commenting on his appointment, Fraser said: “It is a great responsibility to Chair the Board of Australian Retirement Trust. I am grateful for the trust and confidence of my fellow Trustee Directors and I very much look forward to continuing to work to grow and guard the retirement savings of the two million Australians who entrust us with their superannuation.”

He replaces Don Luke as ART Chair, who has opted to step down as the end of his term approached.

“Don’s contribution to Australian Retirement Trust, and to QSuper and Sunsuper prior to the merger, is peerless,” Fraser said.

“He is an outstanding individual and I’ve been grateful to work with and for him. I know my colleagues wish him all the very best as he moves into the next phase and look forward to celebrating his achievements and service in coming months.”

Luke was previously Chair of QSuper and served as CEO of Sunsuper for more than a decade.

While stepping down as Chair, Luke will remain an Independent Director until the end of his term on 30 November 2022.

ART is a $200 billion superannuation fund formed from the merger of Sunsuper and QSuper.


Aware Super has announced the appointment of Sam Mostyn as Chair, commencing in March 2023.

She succeeds Neil Cochrane, who is set to retire from the fund in February.

Aware Super Chief Executive Deanne Stewart praised Mostyn as “one of Australia’s most seasoned board chairs and an experienced leader who understands that as one of Australia’s largest super funds it is vitally important that we continue to deliver strong and sustainable long-term returns for our members”.

“Sam also brings to the role the high integrity and deep care we have always found in Neil [Cochrane] – values that underpin everything we stand for as a fund.”

Mostyn said she was “privileged” to be appointed to succeed Neil Cochrane as Chair.

“Given Aware Super’s member base, I look forward to bringing a continued focus on the values and principles that have defined the culture, aspirations and strong performance of the organisation to date.”

Cochrane became chair in 2014, a period significant change for the fund, including the merger of First State Super and VicSuper in 2020.

He is a former Deputy Chief Executive at Colonial First State Global Asset Management as well as a former Chief Executive of REST.

Stewart praised the outgoing chair as “one of the great custodians of Australia’s superannuation system, having dedicated more than three decades to ensuring Australians can look forward to their best possible retirement”.


Summerland Credit Union has appointed Rob Hale as its new Chair.

Summerland recognised Hale’s expertise in banking technology and strategy, noting his extensive experience in Australia and overseas.

Rob is a current government and industry advisory board and committee member, fintech leader and C-Suite technology executive.

“He has extensive financial services experience in technology, consumer policy and data and analytics with over a decade of practical experience in executive technology roles, within the customer-owned banking sector,” Summerland wrote in a statement.

“As Head of Banking in Australia for TrueLayer, Hale is a leading advocate, innovator and collaborator in the open finance movement in Australia. He previously championed the Consumer Data Right (CDR) at Regional Australia Bank, helping make it the first Australian bank to be both a Data Holder and unrestricted Accredited Data Recipient.”

Summerland Chief Executive, John Williams said he was “thrilled” with the appointment of Hale to the board.

“Rob will bring considerable value and key insights to the board that will not only strengthen governance, risk and strategy but will help guide our digital transformation journey which has only heightened since the Covid-19 pandemic and the recent flood events in the region”.

“Our digital transformation journey includes upgrading our core technology systems which will enable us to continue to provide excellent customer service that is aligned with Summerland’s growth strategy. As a customer-owned organisation, this is imperative to our continued success,” Williams said.


UniSuper has appointed Mark Armour, currently an independent Non-Executive Director of the fund, as Chair of the Investment Committee.

Armour currently chairs UniSuper’s Investment Committee and Technology and Projects Committee, and previously served as head of the European business Invesco, CEO of Invesco Australia and CEO of Funds Management at AXA Australia. He joined the UniSuper Board as an independent Non-Executive Director in July 2017.

Armour replaces current Chair Ian Martin AM who is set to retire at the end of December after a decade at the super fund.