Movers & Shakers, Financial Services | June – July 2022

Mike Backeberg
AustralianSuper's newly appointed tech chief, Mike Backeberg
Australia’s Federal Opposition appoints Shadow Financial Services Minister; the ASX promotes new CEO from within; and ANZ loses its Data and Automation Chief.


– The ASX has announced its replacement for retiring chief executive Dominic Stevens, with Helen Lofthouse to become Managing Director and CEO of Australia’s leading stock exchange.

Lofthouse, who has served with the ASX since 2015, currently as head of its Executive Markets division – the ASX’s cash and derivatives trading arm and largest business by revenue – will step into the new role from 1 August 2022. The ASX notes that Stevens “advise and assist… with the transition until 30 September after which he intends to retire”.

ASX Chair Damian Roche praised Lofthouse, an internal appointment, as an “outstanding choice to lead ASX”, adding that the board has been “consistently impressed with [her] exceptional capability and demonstrated leadership”.

“It is testament to Helen’s qualities and highlights the strength within ASX’s executive ranks. It also reflects the Board’s confidence in the strategy and performance of the company in recent years. We look forward to the fresh ideas and enthusiasm Helen will bring to the role as our new CEO. Her appointment ensures a smooth and orderly CEO transition. ASX’s exciting future is in strong and capable hands.”

Prior to joining ASX, Lofthouse served as Managing Director at UBS in London, and before this in various senior roles at US banking giant JPMorgan.

Lofthouse said she looked forward to “helping shape ASX’s future as we continue our transformation and leverage our technology platform to deliver further value for customers, staff, shareholders and the investing public”.

Roche also paid tribute to outgoing CEO Stevens, acknowledging his “major contribution in leading the company through a period of significant growth, challenge and transformation”.

“Under Dominic’s leadership, ASX has become a stronger, more performance-driven company, which consistently delivers solid financial results.”


– Former Minister for Employment, Workforce, Skills, Small and Family Business Stuart Robert has been named as Shadow Minister for Financial Services as part of the Peter Dutton-led Federal Shadow Ministry.

Roberts previously served as Minister for Government Services and the Minister for the National Disability Insurance Scheme under former Prime Minister Scott Morrison.

Former Minister for Superannuation, Financial Services and the Digital Economy Jane Hume has also been appointed Shadow Finance Minister, while Angus Taylor, former Minister for Energy and Emissions Reduction and Minister for Industry (from 2021 to 2022) will serve as Shadow Treasurer.

Stephen Jones was sworn in as Minister for Financial Services and Assistant Treasurer on 1 June 2022 following Labor’s election victory last month.


– AustralianSuper has formally promoted Mike Backeberg to lead its technology function.

Backeberg stepped into a shared technology services leadership role following the departure of Felicia Trewin in December last year for AMP. Backeberg shared the role with Kavita Mistry.

He will now serve as standalone CTO, with the title renamed from Chief Information Officer (Trewin’s former role) to reflect its changing priorities.

“The opportunity to lead an innovative and aspiring team of technologist[s] as we continue to work towards the best retirement outcomes for our members is one of the most humbling professional moments,” Backeberg said on his LinkedIn page.

Mistry will maintain her position as Head of Enterprise Technology and Head of Investments.

Backeberg formerly served as AustralianSuper’s Head of Technology, Strategy and Planning, with Matt Plant stepping into the role in May.


– MLC Life has appointed Kent Griffin as its next Chief Executive and Managing Director, with current CEO Rodney Cook set to retire at the end of 2022.

Griffin, who currently serves as MLC’s Chief Finance Officer, will become CEO from late October with Cook supporting the transition.

MLC Limited Chair, Peter Grey, praised Griffin as “an outstanding leader [who] brings a wealth of commercial and strategic experience to the role”.

“Since he joined us in early 2020, Kent has helped to strengthen our business and has overseen our return to profitability. He is a strong leader with a clear vision for the future of MLC Life Insurance as we face the challenges of a fast-changing life insurance sector and ever-evolving customer needs.”

Rodney Cook has announced he will retire at the end of 2022 after two and a half years leading MLC Life.

“Rodney has served in the position since June 2020 and has guided the business through a series of major changes including the completion of its technology transformation program (Sanagi), as well as meeting the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic,” MLC Life said in a statement.

Kent Griffin added: “I am honoured to have the opportunity to lead MLC Life insurance as we seek to achieve our ambition of becoming Australia’s leading and most trusted life insurer. With the continued backing of our shareholders Nippon Life and NAB, I am confident in the bright future for our company and its customers, partners and people.”


– Aussie buy now, pay later (BNPL) provider Zip Co has appointed George Gorman as the company’s first standalone Chief Technology Officer for its Australian division.

The role was previously held under the combined Chief Product and Technology Officer function, held by Patrick Collins, before his departure for Airtasker at the end of 2021.

Gorman previously served as CTO at education technology platform company Janison, and prior to this as Program Director for Platform Transformation at WealthTech developer GBST.

As Zip Co’s new Australian CTO, he reports to both Managing Director of A/NZ Cynthia Scott and global CTO Ahu Chhapgar. Travis Tyler was appointed standalone Australian Chief Product Officer in December 2021.



– The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) has appointed Dr Bradley Jones as Assistant Governor, Financial System Group.

Jones replaces Michele Bullock following her appointment as the RBA’s Deputy Governor in April this year.

As Assistant Governor of the Financial System Group, Dr Jones will oversee the RBA’s work on financial system stability and its role in payments system oversight and regulation.

Joining the central bank in 2018 as Head of its International Department, he most recently served as Head of the RBA’s Economic Analysis Department.

Dr Jones previously worked at the International Monetary Fund in Washington DC for five years in the Monetary and Capital Markets Department.


– Resolution Life Australasia has formally appointed Paul Tarlinton as Chief Customer and Operating Officer.

Tarlinton has served in an interim capacity over the last six months, with the role responsible for overseeing the life insurer’s strategic customer offerings, claims management, and operational performance.

Prior to joining Resolution, Tarlinton was Chief Human Resources Officer and Chief of Staff at AMP.

Resolution has also appointed Graeme Edwards as Head of Customer Experience, Australasia. Edwards will also serve as General Manager for the life insurer’s New Zealand arm.

Edwards previously served as Chief Executive of NZ insurer Southsure Assurance.

Resolution Life’s Chief Executive Australasia, Megan Beer, said the dual appointments “will play an important part in the ongoing evolution of our customer offering and will set us up well as we pursue our ambition to be the leading in-force specialist life insurer in Australasia by being a data-driven, digital and customer-focused business”.


– Heritage Bank has appointed Andrew Masci to the newly created role of ESG and Sustainability Manager – the bank’s first dedicated ESG resource.

“Masci will drive the ongoing development of Heritage’s Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) Framework including the delivery of improved governance and reporting of Heritage’s ESG performance and projects such as carbon neutral certification,” the bank announced in a statement.

Masci has more than 15 years’ experience across environmental management, corporate sustainability and ESG. Recently, he worked as Senior Environmental Sustainability Specialist at Airservices Australia, helping to develop and implement its Environmental Sustainability Strategy and Action Plan.

“As societal sentiment shifts to be more climate aware and focus on responsible banking, we have a greater need to be sustainable,” Masci said.

“For the banking sector, there has been a significant shift to grow and manage ESG risk, as well as identify and implement opportunities.”


– Open Banking software developer Frollo has announced Tony Thrassis will step in as interim Chief Executive following the decision of current CEO (and founder of the company back in 2016) Gareth Gumbley to step down from the role on 1 July 2022.

Frollo was acquired by NextGen – a lending tech developer – in 2020, with Gumbley noting he is stepping down following the successful completion of the transfer of the fintech to

“The process of building and growing Frollo as a business has been incredibly rewarding. I’m very grateful for all that Frollo has achieved already and I can’t wait to see the team achieve much more in the future,” Gumbley said.

The NextGen board said it “will take [its] time finding a suitable replacement”.

Commenting on Gumbley’s seminal role in creating Frollo, NextGen Chair Adrian Macleod said: “Gareth has built an amazing company, a true pioneer in Open Banking and financial wellbeing. We’re sad to see him go, but know that Tony will maintain Frollo’s incredible momentum with its Open Banking solutions for banks, fintechs and lenders.”



– ANZ has announced Group Executive Data and Automation Emma Gray has tendered her resignation after six years with the bank.

Gray joined ANZ in February 2017 as the bank’s inaugural Chief Data Officer before her promotion to the role of Group Executive Data and Automation in May 2020.

Gray’s core data responsibilities as the bank’s data head, including data governance and data delivery, will now be overseen by Michelle Pinheiro in her new role as Chief Risk Officer Data & Technology, reporting to Group Chief Risk Officer Kevin Corbally.

Pinheiro has served as ANZ’s Acting Chief Data Officer since October 2021.

ANZ recognised Gray’s “important role in the establishment of data management expertise during a crucial period with the introduction and expansion of Comprehensive Credit Reporting, Open Banking and other changes across the industry”.

“She has also led our work in automation and more recently in operations transformation.”

ANZ Chief Executive Shayne Elliott praised the outgoing data chief as an “outstanding leader”.

“Emma can be proud of the contribution she has made preparing the bank for the future and building a team of highly credentialed data experts. I know Emma will spend the next few months prioritising spending time with family overseas and contemplating her next chapter,” he said.

Gray added: “I’ve really enjoyed my time at ANZ and I’m extremely proud of the amazing team I have built, setting ANZ up for ongoing transformation”.

Prior to joining ANZ in 2016,  Gray served three years as Woolworths’ Chief Loyalty and Data Officer. She also sits on both the Data Standards Board which advises the ACCC and Treasury on open banking design and rules and the Data Republic Board.

Gray is set to depart from the ANZ in August.


New Zealand

– ANZ Bank New Zealand has formally appointed Amanda Owen as Chief Financial Officer. Owen had served as Acting Chief Financial Officer since July 2021.

Since starting with ANZ in 2002, Owen has held a number of senior roles at the bank, including Head of Finance Business Partnering and Divisional Financial Controller.

ANZ New Zealand Chief Executive Antonia Watson said Owen “has demonstrated her strong skill set and leadership abilities as Acting CFO. We’re delighted to have someone of her calibre in this key role”.


– ANZ has also appointed Sarah Stubbings as Regional Executive, Pacific, with responsibility for ANZ’s businesses across 10 Pacific markets.

ANZ Group Executive, New Zealand and Pacific, Antonia Watson said: “The Pacific region is critically important to New Zealand and Australia and remains a key part of ANZ’s international network.

“I’m confident that Sarah is the right person to lead our business as the region recovers from the impacts of Covid-19 and looks to sustainable growth.”

Stubbings has served across a number of senior roles at ANZ, including most recently as Portfolio Lead Responsible Banking, overseeing large-scale customer remediation programs as well as the bank’s response to the Australian Royal Commission into Banking.

Stubbings will be based largely in Suva and commence her new role in early August.



The Insurance Council of Australia (ICA) has appointed Sharon Ooi as Non-Executive Director.

Ooi is currently Managing Director, Head of Australia and New Zealand, for Swiss Re, and a member of the Australian Financial Services Council (FSC) Life Board Committee.

ICA President Nick Hawkins said the board was “pleased” with Ooi’s appointment, noting her “broad knowledge of reinsurance and financial services as well as her regulatory experience in Singapore”.


– Westpac New Zealand has announced the appointment of David Green as an Independent Non-Executive Director, effective 7 June 2022.

Green has served 14 years at ANZ, most recently as the Group’s Singapore CEO and Head of South East Asia, India & Middle East.

Westpac NZ Board Chair Pip Greenwood recognised Green’s “wealth of new skills and expertise he brings to the board … including detailed knowledge of digital strategy and payments”.

Green replaces Mary Quin, who retired on 20 May.

“Mary has provided especially strong oversight of our technology transformation in recent times. We wish her all the best for her future endeavours,” Greenwood said.

– AMP has appointed Andrew Best as an Independent Non-Executive Director, effective 1 July 2022.

“Mr Best brings strong expertise to the AMP Limited Board, with more than three decades of international and domestic experience across investment banking and financial markets,” AMP said in a statement.

He has held multiple senior executive roles at J.P. Morgan Chase & Co, including most recently as the Head of Investment Banking for Australia and New Zealand and prior to this had led J.P. Morgan’s Financial Institutions investment banking business for 13 years.

AMP Limited Chair, Debra Hazelton said the Group was “delighted to have a financial services leader of Andrew’s calibre join the AMP Board, adding to the strong and experienced team of current non-executive directors driving AMP’s transformation.” 


New Zealand’s TSB Bank has appointed current Director, Mike Schubert, as Deputy Chair.

Schubert’s appointment comes following the retirement of previous Deputy, Murray Bain, in mid-June, with Mark Darrow taking up the role of TSB Chair in March.

Schubert joined TSB as a Director in August 2021, and became the Chair of the Audit Committee shortly after.

“He has an extensive history working in governance and executive roles across professional services, health, primary industries, and technology sectors, while he is also a former partner of professional services firm PwC and CEO of law firm MinterEllisonRuddWatts,” TSB said in a statement.


TAL has appointed Mark Joiner as Independent Chair.

Joiner’s appointment follows the announcement of Duncan Boyle’s decision to retire after eight years leading the board.

Joiner, who has notched up more than 30 years of corporate and financial services experience, currently serves as Chair of QBE Insurance Group’s Australian and New Zealand subsidiaries and also independent Chair of digital property exchange platform PEXA as well as an independent non-executive director of Latitude Financial Services.

“I am delighted to be given the opportunity to contribute to the next phase of development for TAL,” Joiner said. I have been impressed by the transformation that has taken place over the last decade to establish TAL as the leading life insurer in Australia and look forward to working with the team to maintain that momentum for the benefit of all our stakeholders.”

Praising Boyle’s leadership over the last eight years, TAL noted his role in overseeing “the most significant period of growth at TAL in its 150-year history, including the acquisitions of the Australian life insurance businesses of both Suncorp and Westpac, as well as guiding the company through a period of substantial regulatory and industry change”.


– NZ Insurer Tower has announced that Director Warren Lee has advised his intention to retire from the company’s board. Warren has served as director of Tower since 26 May 2015.

“A recruitment process is underway for Warren’s replacement, and a decision will be made on the date for his retirement in due course,” the company said.