NAB appoints new digital and design chiefs

NAB appointments digital design

National Australia Bank (NAB) has become the second of Australia’s big four banks to create a dedicated Chief Design Officer role, recruiting US-based digital, UX and design veteran, Lance Thornswood to the new position.

As part of his new role, Thornswood will oversee the NAB’s experience design teams, tasked with “designing effortless experiences for NAB’s customers and colleagues”, the bank said in a statement.

Thornswood currently serves as senior vice president and head of design at U.S. Bank – America’s fifth-largest consumer bank.

He is set to commence at NAB in July 2022, relocating from his current home base in San Francisco to Melbourne.

During his nearly six-year stint at U.S. Bank, he played an instrumental role in the creation of the ‘Shield’ design system as well as the origination of ‘atomic design’ principles within the bank.

With the creation of the new Chief Design Officer role, NAB becomes the second major Australian bank to establish a dedicated C-level design position after ANZ (the first bank in the world to do so).

Alongside Thornswood, NAB has also announced the appointment of ex-Coles Group customer and technology head Sujeet Rana, who steps into the newly created position of Chief Digital Officer.

As part of this new role, Rana will be tasked with accelerating the development of both customer- and staff-end digital experiences.

He is set to formally join NAB in August 2022.

As Coles Group’s GM Customer Experience and Technology, Rana led the delivery of the retailer’s first shoppable app, introduced single-click checkout to its online store, and added new personalisation features that enabled an omnichannel experience for customers.

He also spent over a decade at Woolworths, including pitching and developing the retail giant’s digital and data arm WooliesX, where he led all customer-facing technology assets.

Both Thornswood, as Chief Design Officer, and Rana, as Chief Digital Officer, will report to Angela Mentis, NAB’s Chief Digital, Data and Analytics Officer.

Mentis welcomed the appointment of the pair, recognising their “decades of digital and design experience between them”.

“Sujeet’s passion for delivering digital experiences for customers sits alongside his dedication to continually mentor and grow talent within his team which will be a hugely important contribution as we foster a digital community of practice across NAB,” she said.

“Lance holds an impressive list of achievements throughout his career, using his strong design thinking principles to re-imagine digital experiences for global retail and tech brands such as T-Mobile, Target and Apple.

“I’m looking forward to the design vision and leadership Lance will bring to transform digital banking for our customers.”