Moving into the final month of 2022, Australia’s finserv industry saw a number of high-profile tech appointments, including new additions to Zurich, ANZ, and the ASX’s troubled CHESS replacement program, while the Bank of Queensland and Bupa APAC saw off their CEOs.
– Zurich Australia and New Zealand has appointed Deepak Budhiraja as its next Chief Information Officer, poaching the tech chief from multinational life insurer Sun Life Financial.
Budhiraja steps into the role following the departure of former CIO Michael McKeown, who left Zurich A/NZ back in August, subsequently taking on a new role as COO of equity derivatives and trading at Macquarie Group.
Budhiraja is currently Chief Information & Technology Officer for Hong Kong, Singapore and Bermuda with Canadian life insurance giant Sun Life Financial. He is set to relocate from Hong Kong to Sydney in the new year and commence with Zurich on 16 January 2023.
Zurich A/NZ Chief Operating Officer Hilary Bates hailed her new CIO’s “impressive breadth of international experience… including a strong capability in formulating digital roadmaps and a passion for innovation and customers”.
Budhiraja has served more than two decades in senior digital transformation roles across the financial services industry. This includes recent stints as Chief Information Officer & Chief Client Officer at Sun Life Vietnam, and as Director of Technology for Sun Life’s Asia Service Centre supporting the Canadian and Asian business units.
Prior to his roles at Sun Life, he served more than 10 years in DXC Technology’s Life Insurance Practice consulting for clients based in the US, Singapore and India.
– ANZ has appointed Sam Hallawell as its new Head of Cloud Platforms.
Currently Head of Platforms and Data at Wesfarmers-owned retail group Kmart, Hallawell announced his move on Linkedin.
He steps in for Keith Ferguson, who in February this year made the move across to ANZx, the bank’s transformation program and backer of the consumer-facing ANZ Plus program. Joel Heenan has been acting in the role since that time.
“Cloud adoption is a strategic corporate objective for ANZ and developing this capability further is critical for its success in the future,” Hallawell wrote in his LinkedIn message.
“I’m delighted to continue my work with important partners such as AWS and Google to make business transformation, security and efficiency a reality for one of the most important FIs in Australia.”
Hallawell acknowledged Heenan’s support in the onboarding process, adding that “[it] is great to be working with Adrian Jansz [ANZ’s General Manager Cloud, Data & Analytics] and his team”.
– Peak fintech industry body FinTech Australia has appointed its first Head of Strategic Partnerships, with Rachel Hopping to serve in the augural role.
Hopping joins after a three-year tenure at share trading and superannuation fintech Superhero.
The new role will lead FinTech Australia’s corporate partnership program, formed in 2019, which was specifically created to engage with its 40 corporate partners, including Mastercard, Visa and AWS. The program was formed in response to demand from enterprises to improve their engagement with the fintech community.
“In just a few short years, Rachel has become a well-known individual within the fintech ecosystem,” General Manager of FinTech Australia Rehan D’Almeida said in a statement.
“We’ve worked with her on a number of occasions in regards to Superhero’s relationship with FinTech Australia, and were thoroughly impressed with her professionalism and the way in which she executed her role. She’s a fantastic addition to our team.”
– The Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) has appointed former Westpac tech GM Tim Whiteley (pictured) to lead the next phase of its CHESS replacement program.
The creation of the Project Director role comes in response to the ASX’s decision to completely rejig its CHESS replacement program after an external audit that found severe deficiencies in the blockchain-backed platform’s design, architecture, technical capabilities and governance processes.
The ASX revealed immediately following the release of the audit that it was seeking a project director with “extensive technology transformation experience”, with Whiteley subsequently named to take on the role.
“Tim is a highly experienced executive with a lot of experience leading technology transformation in the financial services industry, and he’ll report directly to me,” ASX managing director and CEO Helen Lofthouse said.
Whiteley will be tasked, firstly, with revisiting the solution design for the CHESS replacement project. He will then move to develop new project governance arrangements and identify delivery partners to bring the project to fruition, Lofthouse said.
– Rabobank Australia has appointed Mark Wiessing as its next Chief Executive and Regional Manager Australia and New Zealand.
Wiessing succeeds Peter Knoblanche, who announced in May he will retire in early 2023, notching up seven years in the role and 27 years in total with the agricultural bank.
A Rabobank veteran of nearly 17 years, Wiessing most recently served as Regional Manager South America and Chief Executive for the bank’s Brazil arm – a position he held for seven years.
Wiessing has served more than 30 years in the financial services sector, including with Standard Bank of South Africa, Citibank and ING, with postings in South America, Africa, Asia and Eastern Europe.
Rabobank Australia chair Sir Henry van der Heyden paid tribute to “the outstanding contribution” of outgoing CEO Peter Knoblanche. He added that Wiessing’s extensive international banking experience made him ideally suited to the new role.
“We’re delighted to have an international banking executive of Mark’s calibre and experience to oversee the bank’s operations in the region, following Peter Knoblanche’s retirement next year,” Henry said.
“Mark’s experience in leading one of Rabobank’s key international franchises, serving the top food and agri corporates and farmers in South America, will also help provide a seamless transition at the helm of Rabobank Australia.”
Wiessing will begin his tenure in Australia from 1 May 2023.
– ANZ has appointed Clare Morgan as Group Executive Australia Commercial.
ANZ notes that Morgan will be responsible for the banking group’s commercial business in Australia, leading a team serving customers ranging from sole proprietors to emerging corporates as well as Private Banking.
She will report directly to ANZ CEO Shayne Elliott.
Morgan most recently served at fellow big four CBA as Executive General Manager of Small Business Banking, with extensive financial industry experience gained from a variety of business and institutional banking sales and product roles in Australia and the United States.
Commenting on the appointment, Elliott said: “Clare is an outstanding leader and I’m confident her business banking experience will be an asset to both ANZ and our customers.
“This is a significant appointment for ANZ as we continue to transform how we serve our commercial customers through the better use of digital platforms and data.”
The appointment of Morgan follows ANZ separating out Australia Commercial as a stand-alone division in March this year.
Elliott added: “While banking small [business] has always been core to what we do, it’s the right time to increase focus on this market, given it is a significant opportunity for ANZ and the progress we have made in other parts of our business.
Morgan will commence in the role in early 2023 and will be based in Sydney.
– Bupa has appointed Glenn Thompson as Managing Director, Health Services, with Sami Yalavac, who has been acting as interim MD of Health Services since April 2022, set to leave the health insurer (see Departures).
Thompson most recently served as Managing Director and Group Chief Executive Officer at Programmed, a staffing, facility management, maintenance, and care services provider.
Prior to this, he spent ten years in media with Fairfax, and in Singapore with a digital media provider to the property industry.
Bupa’s health provisioning business includes Bupa’s Optical & Hearing and Dental businesses as well as contracts with the Australian Government.
He commenced with Bupa on 5 December 2022.
Bupa’s outgoing (see Departures) APAC Chief Executive Hisham El-Ansary praised Thompson as a “highly experienced executive with a proven track record of successfully leading large, complex, portfolio businesses”.
“Glenn’s commerciality, combined with his experience in digitising businesses and ability to work with diverse workforces aligns strongly with our Health Services portfolio and growth agenda. We look forward to welcoming Glenn to Bupa.”
– Caresuper has appointed Michael Dundon as its next Chief Executive.
Dundon replaces Julie Lander who earlier this year announced she would step down after more than two decades at the helm of the super fund.
Dundon is currently an Executive Consultant with Aware Super. He previously served as Chief Executive of VicSuper for close to a decade prior to its merger with Aware Super. Before this, he was CEO of ESSSuper.
CareSuper Chair Linda Scott welcomed Dundon as “a proven superannuation leader”, and praised outgoing CEO Lander as “a tremendous leader… for over two decades, having overseen significant growth in the fund over that time”.
“She embodies our values and our commitment to members and has made a substantial contribution to the superannuation sector more broadly.”
Lander will remain CEO until Dundon formally joins Caresuper in March 2023.
– Australian Ethical has appointed Ross Piper as Chief Executive, following the fund’s merger with Christian Super.
Piper, who brings more than 25 years of executive leadership experience to the new role, is currently director of the Responsible Investment Association of Australasia, and sits on boards of several social enterprise and technology companies.
He has previously served at Macquarie Bank, World Vision International, Christian Super and AgroInvest.
Meanwhile, Conrad Tsang has been appointed inaugural Chief Technology Officer of the newly merged super fund, responsible for developing sustainable technology across the business.
He joins Australian Ethical from HSBC Australia, where he was head of IT for retail banking and wealth.
Australian Ethical Managing Director John McMurdo said the newly appointed IT chief will bring “a range of skills and experience that will assist in accelerating key parts of our growth strategy and enhancing our technological capabilities to ensure we are offering our customers a best-in-class digital experience to manage their investments.”
– AMP has appointed Peter Fredricson as its new Chief Financial Officer (CFO).
As CFO, AMP notes, Fredricson will be responsible for leading the financial and strategic activities of the organisation across Financial Control, Statutory and Regulatory Reporting, Performance Reporting, Tax, Investor Relations, Treasury, M&A, Strategic Sourcing and Workplace Experience.
An experienced CFO, Fredricson most recently in the energy and infrastructure sectors, most recently as Acting CEO and CFO of Oil Search Limited where he oversaw its merger with Santos.
Fredricson will succeed AMP’s current CFO James Georgeson.
He will commence in the role on 9 January 2023, reporting directly to Chief Executive, Alexis George.
– UniSuper has appointed Cameron Wood as Head of Business Development and Partnerships after the fund’s merger with Australian Catholic Superannuation (ACS).
Wood previously ran marketing and business development for ten years and operations for the ten years before that at ACS.
– The Co‑operative Bank has announced Fiona Murphy will step up as Chief Technology Officer.
Murphy, an internal appointment, replaces Annette Natta, General Manager Technology Infrastructure, who is set to retire from the Bank in February 2023 after serving a remarkable five decades with the mutual bank.
“We acknowledge the life-long commitment that Annette has made and wish her all the very best for her well-deserved retirement,” the bank wrote.
The bank has also appointed Grant Allerby as Chief Risk Officer and Geoff Waller as Chief Customer Officer.
The bank said its three promotions “[reflect] our strong talent and career opportunities for our people”.
– Westpac NZ has appointed Kelly Eckhold as its next Chief Economist.
Eckhold will join the bank following decades-long stints at the Reserve Bank of New Zealand (RBNZ) and most recently the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
He assumes his new role next March, filling the position vacated by Dominick Stephens. Michael Gordon has stepped in as Acting Chief Economist in the interim.
The Bank of Queensland (BoQ) has announced Chief Executive and Managing Director George Frazis has departed after three years at the helm of the organisation, with BoQ citing a need for a leadership refresh to deliver on its wholesale transformation program.
BoQ said it is currently undertaking a domestic and international executive search to replace Frazis.
Current BoQ Chair Patrick Allaway will step in as Executive Chair for the period of the executive search, with non-Executive Director Karen Penrose to serve as lead Independent Director during this period.
Allaway, while praising Frazis’s role in overseeing “a return to growth in all key channels across the Bank, the successful acquisition and integration of ME Bank, as well as achieving strong progress in the Bank’s technology transformation”, said the board had called for “different leadership” to drive forward its forward transformation agenda.
“[Different] leadership is now required to ensure BoQ can continue to build a stronger and more resilient bank through future cycles,” Allaway said.
“We thank George for his significant contribution to BoQ over the past three years.”
Among the key priorities for the future CEO will be to strengthen the bank’s financial and operational resilience, drive forward its technology transformation program (“continuing to build a cloud-based digital and data-led scalable bank, improving the Bank’s customer and employee experience and moving off multiple complex legacy systems to reduce its reliance on manual processes”), and optimising performance.
The BoQ board said it expects the executive search, evaluation and commencement process for the new CEO and Managing Director could take up to nine months.
– Health insurer Bupa has announced its Chief Executive for Asia Pacific, Hisham El-Ansary, is set to step down from the role at the end of March next year.
El-Ansary joined Bupa in 2008 as Chief Financial Officer and was appointed CEO in April 2019, having served across a number of senior executive roles within the organisation.
Bupa Group chief executive Iñaki Ereño lauded El-Ansary’s “significant and lasting contribution to Bupa”.
“Throughout this time, he has led with clear purpose and strong conviction; a true exemplar of our values as he continued to evolve the culture and engagement of our people.”
Bryan Mogridge, Bupa ANZ Chair noted El-Ansary’s key achievements during his tenure, including: “his significant involvement in the highly successful merger and integration of Bupa’s acquisition of MBF in 2008; his establishment and leadership of our health provision business, Bupa Health Services from 2015; and in more recent times, the steadfast manner in which he led the company through the challenges of the Aged Care Royal Commission and the COVID pandemic.”
“He leaves Bupa APAC in a better place with a unique culture and a wonderful team ready to meet the healthcare challenges of the future,” Mogridge added.
Bupa said it is currently undertaking an international search process to find Mr El-Ansary’s replacement, considering both internal and external candidates.
– Bupa has also lost its interim Managing Director of Health Services, and previously APAC chief information officer, Sami Yalavac.
Yalavac announced in a LinkedIn post that he will leave the company at the end of 2022, seeking, he wrote, to “open up a new chapter in my career”.
Yalavac, who was appointed interim Health Services MD in April, served a total of 17 years at the company, nearly six-and-a-half years of which were as APAC CIO. He also previously held the positions of Director of Operations and Infrastructure and Application Development Manager.
Bupa APAC CEO Hisham El-Ansary praised Yalavac’s “immense contribution during his 17 years at Bupa.”
Yalavac wrote: “Although I have always been extremely happy at Bupa, I feel that it is now the right time to look for new opportunities rather than to return to my role as the APAC CIO after handing over the managing director health services role”.
Chief Customer and Strategy Officer (CCSO) Gerald Marion has also announced he will leave the company.
Marion was appointed Bupa’s first CCSO in 2019.
El-Ansary said: “Gerald has been instrumental in growing Bupa’s digital health offer and data capability, as well as supporting the business to improve customer experience”.
He added: “I want to thank Sami and Gerald for their passion and dedication to our organisation during their time with us. They have always led with our values and purpose, and on behalf of the team we wish them well on their new endeavours.”
– Westpac Chair John McFarlane has announced he will retire at next year’s annual meeting.
McFarlane joined the Westpac board in February 2020 and was appointed chair in April 2020. Among a number of high-profile roles during his career in financial services, McFarlane served as Chief Executive at ANZ for a decade to 2007.
In his chair address made at today’s Westpac AGM, McFarlane said the bank is “now in good strategic and financial shape for the future”.
“Over a number of years, Westpac had lost market position across our portfolio of businesses, particularly institutional, business, and consumer banking,” he said.
“I’m pleased to say that this has stabilised, and we’re now operating broadly in line with major bank competitors.”
Peter Marriott also retired from the Westpac board at the AGM, having completed his maximum three terms.
– Citi’s Chief Executive of Australia and Head of Citi’s Australia and New Zealand cluster, Marc Luet, has announced he will step into a new role as Citi’s country head in Japan, replacing Lee Waite.
Luet will also serve as Citigroup Global Markets Japan Inc’s CEO, president and representative director; Citibank N.A. Tokyo Branch’s representative and branch manager; and Citigroup Japan Holdings G.K’s CEO and president.
Luet, who has served with Citi for more than two decades, working across the EMEA region, was appointed in August 2019 to head Citi’s Australia/New Zealand arm.
During Luet’s tenure as A/NZ chief, Citi saw the sale of its Australian consumer business arm, including its consumer bank, to NAB.
– MLC Life Insurance has appointed Catherine Dubé as an Independent non-Executive Director to its board.
Dubé will also serve as Chair of MLC’s Board Audit Committee, replacing Sandra Birkensleigh after her decade-long tenure.
Dubé is recognised as a professional non-Executive Director, with more than 25 years’ experience in the financial services sector.
She currently serves as a non-Executive Director of Guild Group Holding and Guild Insurance Limited, and Chair of the Guild Group Audit and Risk Committees. She is also non-Executive Director and Audit Committee Chair for AssetInsure and for Challenger Retirement and Investment Services, and is a member of the ACT Public Trustee and Guardian Investment Board.
Dubé served as Chief Risk Officer at AIG from 2012 to 2019.
– Life insurer TAL has appointed Naomi Edwards as an Independent non-Executive Director.
Edwards will also serve on TAL’s Audit and Risk Committees.
Edwards, whose life insurance and superannuation career spans 35 years, currently serves as the Chair of Accurium Limited, and is a non-Executive Director for Yarra Investment Management, Propel Funeral Partners and the Tasmanian Development Board. Working extensively in the ethical investments sector, she is the former Chair of Spirit Super and Australian Ethical Investment.
As Chair of Spirit Super, Edwards led significant transformation and merger activity during a period of substantial regulatory and industry change, overseeing the fund’s transformation from $1.5 billion funds under management 12 years ago to $25 billion today.
– Superannuation fund Rest has appointed former Deputy Premier of Victoria and Minister for Education, James Merlino, as its Independent Chair and Independent Director.
Merlino will step in to take over from Ken Marshman, who concludes his term on 31 December 2022 after more than nine years served.
Marshman said: “It has been a privilege to serve as the Chair of the Rest board for the past nine years. Protecting and growing our members’ retirement savings has remained my light on the hill as has the diverse and changing needs of our members.
– UniSuper has announced Macquarie Bank Chair, Peter Warne, will join its board as an Independent non-Executive Director from 1 January 2023.
Warne, whose career in financial services spans more than 40 years, most recently served six years as Chair of Macquarie Group, including 15 years as a Director.
Warne’s appointment follows the recent announcement that Mark Armour will take over the UniSuper Chair role when current Chair, Ian Martin, retires at the end of the year. Armour currently serves as Chair of UniSuper’s Investment Committee.
– Tasmania mutual bank, Bank of us, has promoted Helen Galloway to Chair.
Galloway has served as the Non-Executive Director at the bank since 2019.
The bank hailed Galloway’s core skills in commercial strategy, finance, IT and analytics.
In response to her appointment, Galloway said: “Our vision is to be the bank of choice for Tasmanians by offering products and services that provide ‘real’ value for our customers – a key point of differentiation in our industry.
“Tasmanians deserve the opportunity to bank with an organisation that puts the needs of its customers, who are its owners, at the forefront of decision making.”
– Kiwi Group Capital Limited, the newly incorporated parent company of NZ Government-owned Kiwibank, has appointed David McLean and Sir Brian Roche as its inaugural directors.
McLean will sit as Chair with Roche to serve as Director – both for three-year terms.
“KGC is in very good hands with David and Sir Brian, who collectively bring a wealth of governance and leadership experience to support the Government’s goal of Kiwibank being a genuine competitor in the banking sector and offer a viable and competitive alternative for New Zealanders,” NZ Deputy Prime Minister Grant Robertson said.
Robertson said he will appoint more directors in the near future, with a view to a board composition that is diverse and has a mix of skills required to fulfil its duties.
In August, the Government acquired 100 per cent of Kiwi Group Holdings, which also operates New Zealand Home Loans, from NZ Post, ACC and the NZ Super Fund.
– Suncorp NZ has appointed Alison Barrass and Kate Jorgensen as Independent Directors to its board.
Chairman David Flacks said: “Both of these independent directors have a strong customer focus which can be seen in their current and previous directorships”.
Barrass has had a deep involvement with tech-focused businesses based in New Zealand.
Currently, she is a Director of Spark NZ, Rockit Apples and Zespri, and is Chair of Tom & Luke and Babich Wines.
Suncorp has acknowledged Jorgensen’s significant financial, audit and commercial experience, having held senior leadership positions within the telecommunications, infrastructure and construction industries.
She is currently a non-Executive Director of Chorus and a board trustee on the Dingle Foundation. Prior to these roles, she served as Vodafone New Zealand CFO.
The directors will sit on the Vero New Zealand Insurance, Vero Liability Insurance and Asteron Life boards.
– FinTech Australia has announced a reorganisation of its board, with Christian Westerlind Wigstrom, founder and Chief Executive of Monoova, newly elected to the peak body’s board.
The organisation also confirmed the roles of several existing board members:
- Simone Joyce, CEO and co-founder of Paypa Plane, remains as Chair
- Oliver Kidd, Founder and CEO of Archa, will become the board’s Secretary.
- Marie Mortimer, Managing Director of Loans.com.au and Director of FinTech QLD, will serve as Treasurer.
As part of the transition, Nathan Walsh, Paul Kang and Robin Sands will stand down from the board having served a full electoral term.
FinTech Australia Chair Simone Joyce said: “With these shifts, FinTech Australia’s board is well-positioned to address what will be another interesting year of challenges and growth for the sector.”
Christian is a well-known and respected figure within the fintech community, we’re glad to have his expertise guiding the organisation.”
– Australian B2B fintech Cloudfloat has appointed former CBE and Westpac CIO Bob McKinnon as Chair of its board.
McKinnon was recognised by Cloudfloat for his role in overseeing major technology overhauls at both the Commonwealth Bank of Australia and Westpac, serving as Group Executive, Technology and Chief Information Officer at each organisation.
Across an executive career spanning more than 40 years, McKinnon has held a number of group executive, senior executive and board roles in finance, technology and general management across the financial services and property industries.
Beyond his work with the big four banks, McKinnon served as Joint Managing Director and Chief Financial Officer of Multiplex Group, Chief General Manager and Chief Financial Officer of MLC Group, and Chief Financial Officer of Lendlease Corporation.
He was also Independent non-Executive Chair of The New Payments Platform (NPP).
He is currently a non-Executive Director and Chair (Audit & Risk Committee) at AMP Capital Funds Management and a non-Executive Director and Chair (Board Audit Committee) at Sydney Metro. He is also Co-Founder and a Director of Mirin Digital, a boutique technology advisory firm launched almost a decade ago.
“Joining Cloudfloat was an easy decision for me”, McKinnon said in a statement.
“Small businesses are the engine room of the Australian economy and are critical to our nation’s prosperity, but for too long their working capital needs have been under-serviced by the banking industry.
“Cloudfloat understands this gap in the market and has developed an innovative business model and customer focussed servicing platform that helps small businesses easily access the working capital assistance they need to thrive.”