Westpac merges tech & operations roles, poaches Bank of Montreal CIO

Scott Collary appointed Westpac COO, Chief Operating Officer

Westpac will consolidate its technology and operations functions into a single role, appointing Scott Collary to lead the bank’s newly created “operating office”.

Collary, a former tech chief at ANZ and most recently CIO and head of operations at the Bank of Montreal, will serve in a similar capacity as Westpac’s newly appointed chief operating officer (COO).

The role effectively supplants the chief information officer role held by Craig Bright, who in May this year announced he will resign from the Aussie major to take on a new role at UK ‘big four’ Barclays. Bright served less than two years as Westpac CIO.

He will remain in the position until late September, at which point Gary Thursby, Westpac’s current chief financial officer, will step in as interim CIO until Collary officially joins the bank later in the year.

Thursby, however, has also announced he will depart from Westpac early next year after more than a decade at the bank.

In a statement, Westpac chief executive Peter King welcomed Collary’s addition to the bank’s executive leadership team, which has faced a number of high-profile personnel changes in recent months.

“Scott has extensive experience working in senior financial services roles leading large global teams. He has a proven track record of delivering large-scale transformation programs at major international banks that improve operating and technology performance,” King said.

“We look forward to Scott leading our technology and operations teams,” King said.

Collary is no stranger to Australia, having previously served as ANZ’s chief information officer and chairman of the bank’s operations and technology between 2014 and 2016.

The then ANZ CIO was recognised by CIO Magazine for his efforts in overhauling the bank’s complex patchwork of IT operations and project delivery frameworks, in 2016 ranking 6th in its annual CIO50 list. Collary was singled out for delivering “consistency in the way the IT group works with the business to deliver technology for customers and staff”.

This included efforts to simplify technology delivery frameworks, methods and governance, as well as a shift towards Agile development methodologies that preferenced smaller projects with more rapid delivery capabilities.

Based primarily in North America, Collary’s career in financial services spans more than three decades. Since 2018, he has served as chief information and operations officer at the Bank of Montreal.