Bank of Sydney and Citi appoint new CEOs; the Federal Government restores the standalone Privacy Commissioner; IAG poaches marketing talent from social media giant Meta; and CDR chief set to depart.
– Bank of Sydney has appointed former MyState head Melos Sulicich to lead the organisation.
Sulicich replaces former CEO Miltos Michaelas, who announced in January he would end his current six-year tenure with the bank by mid-2023. Michaelas most recently headed the bank between 2017 and 2023 following an earlier stint as CEO between 2001 and 2006.
Sulicich currently serves as an Independent non-Executive Director at the retirement-focused Challenger Bank, concurrently serving as a member of the bank’s Risk Committee and Audit Committee.
Among his other key leadership roles have included: Managing Director and Chief Executive of MyState Bank (between 2014 and 2021); Chief Executive, Financial Group at RAMS (between 2008-13); and Non-Executive Director of peak industry body the Australian Banking Association (ABA) as a member of its Finance, Audit and Risk Committee (for one year between 2020 and 2021).
Sulicich has been warmly welcomed by Bank of Sydney as an “exceptional executive with significant Australian and international experience” across both executive leadership and board positions.
Bank of Sydney Chair Nicholas Pappas AM, said: “The Board is delighted that Melos Sulicich will lead the Bank through the next phase of its ambitious growth journey.
“Melos demonstrates strong alignment with Bank of Sydney’s values and will be a tremendous asset to the organisation. We wish him every success.”
Sulicich commences as Bank of Sydney CEO on 15 May.
– Citi has promoted local head of markets Mark Woodruff as Citi Australia Chief Executive and Head of Citi’s Australia and New Zealand cluster.
Woodruff succeeds Marc Luet, who was recently appointed Chief Executive for Citi in Japan.
Woodruff has served with the US banking giant for more than two decades years (beginning in its New York office), stepping in as acting head of Australia and New Zealand in January this year.
Woodruff will be responsible for driving Citi’s strategy in Australia and New Zealand, including “serving as a trusted partner to Citi’s clients, maintaining a strong risk and control environment and fostering a high-performing, inclusive and supportive culture for the franchise”, Citi said in a statement.
Commenting on the appointment, Tim Monger, Head of the North East Asia Cluster for Citi, said: “I am thrilled that Mark has been appointed to this role.
“I am confident he will drive the Australia and New Zealand businesses to further growth and support our clients as they navigate a challenging macro-economic landscape.
“Mark’s strong leadership credentials and markets experience means he is well-positioned to help Citi meet its global strategy to become a more focused, better-connected and simpler bank.”
Woodruff reports directly Monger.
Since commencing with Citi in 2002, Woodruff has held several leadership roles, including Head of Investor Sales and most recently Head of Markets for Australia and New Zealand.
Citi said it will soon commence recruitment for Woodruff’s replacement in the Head of Markets role.
– Insurance Australia Group (IAG) has appointed Michelle Klein (pictured) as Chief Customer and Marketing Officer, leading a newly formed Customer Experience and Marketing Division at the insurer.
Klein will head IAG’s marketing and brand portfolio strategy for all brands across IAG’s Direct and Intermediated Insurance divisions, including NRMA Insurance, ROLLiN’, CGU and WFI brands.
Klein, IAG said, as part of her new role “will utilise deep customer and community insights, while leveraging brand strengths, to improve the overall customer experience to better connect with and reach more Australians”.
She returns to Australia from the US, where she served almost a decade at social media giant Meta (previously Facebook), most recently as Vice President, Global Business and Product Marketing.
IAG Direct Insurance Australia Group Executive Julie Batch said: “Michelle is renowned internationally for her innovative solutions to redefining the role of brands to deliver business results.
“It is a testament to the strength of IAG and our portfolio of brands to attract someone of Michelle’s calibre to our team. She brings to the role extensive experience in B2B and B2C marketing, customer experience, and product development, which will be invaluable in supporting the delivery of our strategy.”
Klein said she would tap her “Silicon Valley experience to drive transformation through insights and technology”.
Klein steps in for Zara Curtis, who has served as Acting Chief Marketing Officer since September 2022. Curtis is set to remain in the marketing leadership team with an expanded remit.
– The Australian Government is set to restore the standalone Privacy Commissioner role.
The establishment of the standalone Privacy Commissioner role effectively restores the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) to the three-Commissioner model originally envisaged upon its creation in 2010 under the Australian Information Commissioner Act.
Angelene Falk, who is the current Australian Information Commissioner, dually holds the role of Privacy Commissioner.
The independent role was scrapped back in 2014, with the Abbott Government at the time making attempts to abolish the OAIC entirely. The subsequent Turnbull administration restored funding to the office, maintaining the existing structure, with Falk maintaining responsibility for both roles.
Attorney-General Dreyfus said that the restoration of the dedicated Privacy Commission is a “significant contrast to that of the former Liberal Government, which left Australia disgracefully unprepared for this challenge by failing to strengthen privacy laws”.
Falk will remain as Information Commissioner and head of the OAIC, and will continue as Privacy Commission until the new appointment is made.
Toni Pirani, who currently serves as general manager of Regulatory Operations at the Australian Financial Security Authority (AFSA), will step in as acting Freedom of Information Commissioner following the resignation of Leo Hardiman.
Hardiman announced in March he would resign from the role less than a year into his five-year appointment. He cited concerns over delays in reviews conducted by the OAIC.
The Government said it has commenced a merit-based selection process to fill the FOI Commissioner vacancy permanently.
– Humm Group has appointed Stuart Grimshaw, currently non-Executive Director on the Humm board, as Managing Director and Chief Executive, following the departure of Rebecca James.
Grimshaw, a former national field hockey representative for New Zealand and Olympian, has been a member of the Humm Group Board since July 2022, and boasts more than 35 years’ experience in the financial services sector.
He was formerly Chief Executive of the Bank of Queensland from 2012 to 2014 and served as Executive Chair (and then Managing Director and Chief Executive) of Nasdaq-listed EZCorp, a US-based payday lender and pawn shop operator, where he has served for more than eight and a half years.
Humm Group chair Andrew Abercrombie said: “I’m delighted that someone of Stuart’s pedigree has agreed to become the new CEO of Humm Group.
“Stuart brings a wealth of financial services experience and expertise to the role, and we are confident that he will continue to drive the company’s success in the years ahead.
“On behalf of the board, I look forward to working closely with Stuart as we continue to pursue profitable growth across the business and deliver significant value to our shareholders.”
Grimshaw is set to commence in the new role at the end of June.
– MLC Life Insurance has appointed Hiroyuki Endo as Chief Investment Officer and Deputy Chief Financial Officer (CFO).
Endo will assume responsibility for MLC Life’s key finance and related management functions.
He succeeds Yosuke Nakano, who will be leaving MLC Life Insurance to take up the role of General Manager, Head of Indian Business, Global Business Planning Department role at Nippon Life India.
Endo currently serves as General Manager, Separate Account Investment Department of Nippon Life Insurance Group, MLC Life’s parent company, of which MLC Life is its largest international insurance business.
He began his career with Nippon Life Insurance in 1995 and since then has held several senior roles within the company, including as Chief Manager, Cash Management Department and Deputy General Manager, Investment Risk Management Department.
“I am delighted to welcome Hiroyuki Endo to MLC Life Insurance and to the Insurance Leadership Team and I know the broader business joins me in welcoming Endo-san,” said Kent Griffin, MLC Life Insurance Chief Executive Officer.
“This is a sign of the critical, close working relationship between Nippon Life Insurance and MLC Life Insurance, and the commitment Nippon Life has to the success of our business. I look forward to working with Endo-san.”
– The Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA) has formally appointed Shail Singh as its new Lead Ombudsman, Investments and Advice.
Singh had been acting in the role since January 2022. He was appointed to an Ombudsman role at AFCA’s launch in late 2018, becoming Senior Ombudsman, Investments and Advice, in 2021.
“Shail brings deep and diverse experience to this role, having worked in dispute resolution for over a decade and having been a financial planner himself,” said AFCA’s Deputy Chief Ombudsman Dr June Smith.
“He is a respected specialist in investments and advice complaints, in areas such as financial planning, derivatives, managed funds, timeshare, cryptocurrency and stockbroking.
“Shail has forged strong relationships with key stakeholders, among other things initiating a financial advice liaison group and a cryptocurrency liaison group,” Smith added.
A lawyer by profession, Singh has worked as both in-house legal counsel and for regulators including WorkSafe Victoria and the Medical Practitioners Board of Victoria.
He stepped in as acting Lead Ombudsman in January 2022 when his predecessor, Natalie Cameron, became Lead Ombudsman for Banking and Finance.
– QBE Insurance has announced the creation of a new Global Head of Cyber role, with insurance industry veteran Serene Davis appointed to the position.
QBE said the new role will work with the company’s divisional cyber underwriting leaders “to develop and drive a unified cyber strategy for risk assessment, pricing, claims, product and service offerings, and marketing across the entire enterprise”.
Davis will remain based in Southern California, where she will be accountable for the overall global performance of QBE’s cyber business.
She commences with QBE on 15 May.
She joins QBE from Beazley, where she most recently served as Regional Manager of the West and Head of the Los Angeles office. She served 17 years at Beazley.
QBE acknowledged Davis’s “deep cyber knowledge and strong leadership skills”, noting her “instrumental” role in Beazley’s Cyber Risks Global Strategy.
Prior to her 17 years at Beazley, Davis served at AIG and Federated Insurance.
QBE Group chief executive Andrew Horton said welcomed his latest senior cyber recruit to the Australian headquartered insurer.
“Cyber risk is a critical component of risk management for our brokers and customers, and we want to meet this need through a globally consistent cyber insurance strategy and become a market-leading cyber insurer,” Horton said.
“We’re delighted Serene will lead this important work for QBE.”
– ClearView has appointed current Group Executive of Technology and Development Chief Executive Nadine Gooderick as Chief Executive.
Gooderick replaces Simon Swanson who is set to retire at the end of June after 12 years in the role.
The board welcomed Gooderick, praising her extensive experience managing international programs and leading large diverse teams.
She joins ClearView from Reinsurance Group of America, where for half of her 18 years at the company she served as Chief Operating Officer.
Gooderick joined ClearView in 2020, with the company’s board acknowledging her achievements in establishing and executing the group’s transformation program, overseeing the launch of its new enterprise policy administration system and underwriting the rules engine.
“Nadine is a well-respected, proven business leader with over 25 years’ life insurance experience working across the Asia Pacific region,” the Board said.
“Through this experience, Nadine has brought fresh ideas and disciplines to ClearView since joining, reinforcing the board’s preference for an internal appointment.”
The board also thanked Swanson for his contribution to ClearView over his more than decade-long tenure, noting his role in successfully guiding “the business through a period of enormous disruption, and regulatory and structural change”.
“He leaves the business strongly positioned to continue its growth and capitalise on an improving life insurance market.”
– The Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA) has re-appointed David Locke as Chief Ombudsman and Chief Executive Officer for a second five-year term.
“As AFCA’s inaugural Chief Ombudsman, David has met the challenge of bringing together three separate dispute resolution bodies to build a new, world-class scheme,” said AFCA Board Chair Professor John Pollaers OAM.
“He has also led the organisation through a period of significant growth in complaints as a result of the COVID pandemic, natural disasters and scams.”
Locke has overseen significant initiatives at the ombudsman, including, AFCA said, “the development of the publicly searchable AFCA Datacube, which allows firms and consumers to compare complaints performance; a new funding model welcomed for its fair, user-pays approach; a significant review of the AFCA Rules now underway; and an ongoing IT transformation to ensure an efficient and user-friendly experience for firms and consumers”.
Locke begins his new term at the end of June.
AFCA expects to “register close to 100,000 complaints this financial year, up from 70,000 complaints just a year ago”, Locke said.
“AFCA’s services have, sadly, never been more needed.
“We will continue to work in partnership with financial firms, consumer bodies, and regulators to share lessons from our work and drive improved practices. We want to see financial firms resolve more disputes themselves, so fewer matters have to be escalated to AFCA.”
– Australia’s competition watchdog, the ACCC, has appointed Dr Lilla Csorgo as its new Chief Economist.
Dr Csorgo has nearly 30 years’ global experience in competition economics. She joins the ACCC from the Competition Bureau Canada where she served as Chief Economist.
She previously worked as Chief Economist at the New Zealand Commerce Commission and Head of Economics and Policy at the Hong Kong Competition Commission and spent several years in private practice at consulting firm Charles River Associates.
“Dr Csorgo is a highly skilled economist, and the ACCC will benefit from her extensive experience across different jurisdictions,” ACCC Chair Gina Cass-Gottlieb said.
She is also currently a lay member of the High Court of New Zealand and was previously a lay member of the Canadian Competition Tribunal.
“I am delighted to welcome Lilla to the ACCC and look forward to working closely with her,” Cass-Gottlieb said.
– CBA-owned NZ bank ASB has appointed Rebecca James as its new Executive General Manager of Business Banking.
James comes from Australian-based BNPL provider and non-bank lender Humm Group, where she served as Chief Executive for five years.
James, prior to her role at Humm, served as Chief People and Marketing Officer both at fintech Prospa and at the digital-only ME Bank, as well as Client Services Director with Australia’s largest customer experience consultancy, Lavender.
ASB Chief Executive Vittoria Shortt welcomed James’ extensive experience spanning “every aspect of the business cycle from founding, scaling, and listing, through to transforming”.
“I’m looking forward to Rebecca bringing her extensive entrepreneurial experience to ASB to support the growth and progress of our Business Banking customers.”
Andrew Abercrombie, Chair of Humm Group also praised his outgoing chief executive’s “significant contribution to the business”.
“During her tenure she helped the company relaunch its point-of-sale instalment offering, cementing its place as the leader in bigger ticket purchases. She has also been responsible for re-orientating our Commercial business to focus on SME lending through the broker channel – which is now growing volumes at over 50 per cent year on year.”
Humm has operations across Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and Canada.
– The ACCC’s Consumer Data Right head Paul Franklin has resigned after almost three-and-a-half years leading the Government-led open data program.
Franklin wrote in a LinkedIn post that “delivering the ACCC’s part in the consumer data right has been a genuine privilege and a highlight of my career to date.”
“Over more than three years I have been honoured to … develop new capabilities to plan, design, build and run the technology solutions that support consumer data sharing and support participants,” he wrote.
“Now is a good time for me to move on to my next challenge.”
Franklin concludes his role from the ACCC on 15 May.
iTnews reports that recent interim Chief Executive of the Australian Energy Regulator Kathie Standen will step in to Franklin’s former role as Executive General Manager of the CDR.
– Insurance Australia Group (IAG) has announced a major change to its executive functions, scrapping Tim Plant’s innovation-led role as Chief Insurance and Strategy Officer.
IAG said it will move to “[consolidate] its group functions to better support its three operating businesses: Direct Insurance Australia, Intermediated Insurance Australia, and New Zealand”, redistributing Plant’s role across the business.
Plant is set to leave the business on 30 June 2023.
“Our plans are clear. We want to accelerate the delivery of our plans and ensure our three operating businesses can continue to meet customer needs in this rapidly changing environment, IAG Managing Director and Chief Executive Nick Hawkins said.
“Tim has established greater discipline and alignment on how we execute our strategic priorities and helped to strengthen our underwriting governance during his time at IAG. I thank him for his contribution,”.
Plant currently heads up the company’s strategy, innovation and underwriting division. As a result of the changes, the company’s strategy and innovation functions will now sit within the finance division, while underwriting will be transferred to risk, where it previously sat.
IAG first introduced Plant’s role in mid-2021, with part of his remit to lead IAG’s innovation and venture activities, currently led by Firemark Ventures, IAG’s corporate venture capital arm and early-stage tech incubator.
IAG also announced Chief Financial Officer Michelle McPherson will retire at the end of 2023.
McPherson joined IAG as acting Group CFO in April 2020, and was appointed CFO in November 2020.
Hawkins said of McPherson: “Michelle has played an important role in helping drive the business to achieve its strategic goals during a challenging time for the industry and economy. I would like to thank Michelle for her contribution and wish her all the best in her retirement later this year.”
McPherson will continue in her role as CFO while an internal and external search for her replacement is conducted.
– Teachers Mutual Bank’s long-serving Chief Executive Steve James has announced he will retire from the bank at the end of September.
James has served 44 years at Teachers Mutual Bank (TMB), 18 of which as the Bank’s CEO.
“A stalwart of the mutual banking industry, during his CEO tenure… James has led the growth of the Bank from $1.5 billion to $11 billion, overseen five successful mergers and been an advocate for socially responsible banking – the Bank is B Corp certified and was most recently named one of the World’s Most Ethical Companies for 10 consecutive years,” TMB said in a statement.
“I am incredibly proud of what Teachers Mutual Bank Limited has achieved during my 18 years as CEO and I leave with the fondest of memories knowing that I have led the Bank to be what it is today – a world-leading, socially responsible Bank that has always put our members first and continues to strive at all times to be a bank for good, for those who do good,” James said.
Teachers Mutual Bank Limited Chair Maree O’Halloran praised Steve’s “unwavering commitment and dedication to the Bank, its staff and members”.
“Under Steve’s leadership, Teachers Mutual Bank Limited has been profitable, socially responsible and committed to our members. Steve has modernised the Bank and achieved sustained growth while maintaining sound operational management.” O’Halloran said.
“Steve has been an integral part of Teachers Mutual Bank Limited shaping and maintaining the strength, security and sustainability of the Bank. He will be missed by many within the Bank and in the mutual banking sector and retires with the warmest of wishes and thanks from myself and the Board.
The Board has commenced an executive search for James’ successor.
– ANZ’s Group Executive, Talent & Culture and Service Centres, Dr Kathryn van der Merwe, is set to depart the bank at the end of May.
In 2021, she took responsibility for ANZ’s Service Centres in Bengaluru, Manila and Chengdu.
“During her six years at ANZ”, the bank said, “Dr van der Merwe has established a strong team and played an integral role in the purpose-led transformation of the bank”.
“She introduced a new remuneration and reward structure and joint-led an initiative with Technology to modernise ANZ’s Talent and Culture platforms and optimise its services and processes.
“Dr van der Merwe also played a pivotal role in ANZ’s COVID response during a time of significant disruption.”
ANZ Chief Executive Shayne Elliott praised van der Merwe’s “important role in the bank we’re building… strengthening our overall employee experience”.
“She has helped create a solid foundation for our culture and values as well as new ways of leading and can be proud of her significant achievements over the past six years at ANZ.”
ANZ will conduct an internal and external search for a permanent replacement for Dr van der Merwe.
Richard Howell, Tribe Lead, Transforming Talent and Culture, will step in as Acting Group Executive Talent and Culture, while Sreeram Iyer, Chief Operating Officer, Institutional will assume responsibility for ANZ’s Service Centres in an acting capacity, both effective 1 June 2023.
– EML Payments Chief Executive Emma Shand has made a hasty departure from the company after less than 10 months in the role.
EML made the call on Shand’s departure following the board’s announcement that it had appointed Barrenjoey Capital Partners to sell “all or parts” of the business.
Shand assumed the Chief Executive role from Tom Cregan, who left the company last July.
The payments company also announced Shand’s replacement, appointing the former head of the Bank of Ireland’s cards business Kevin Murphy as Interim Chief Executive for a period of six months.
The company said Murphy has significant experience dealing with the Central Bank of Ireland, which is currently engaged in an extended investigation of EML’s Irish subsidiary, PFS Card Services.
EML chair Luke Bortoli called for a strategic review following discussions with stakeholders, with the board “[forming] a view on the urgent priorities for the business.”
“We are committed to taking actions that will help the business move through its immediate challenges, deliver sustainable growth in the medium to long-term and maximise value for shareholders,” Bortoli said in a statement.
– Matt Whineray, who heads the NZ$60 billion New Zealand Superannuation fund, has announced his resignation from the role.
Whineray, who served 15 years with the fund –five of those as Chief Executive – is set to leave at the end of 2023.
Whineray was promoted to the top job in 2018 after serving four years as the super fund’s investment head.
“With a strong workplace culture developed by successive leaders and a clear purpose – sustainable investment delivering strong returns for all New Zealanders – the Guardians has successfully met the many challenges it has faced as a long-term investor over its first 20 years,” Whineray said.
“I am confident that the team is well placed to meet new challenges – and take advantage of new opportunities – as they arise.”
– AFCA has appointed former Chief Executive of the Consumer Action Law Centre, Gerard Brody, to its independent board for a three-year term.
“Mr Brody brings to the board his policy, regulatory, legal and consumer experience,” AFCA’s Independent Chair, Professor John Pollaers OAM, said.
“He has a thorough understanding of the contemporary challenges facing consumers and firms.”
Brody served as Chief Executive of the Consumer Action Law Centre, a consumer advocacy organisation providing legal assistance and financial counselling, for 10 years until February 2023.
An experienced director, he has served on the boards of the Energy & Water Ombudsman Victoria, since 2014, the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman, since 2022, and Community Legal Centres Australia, the peak body for community legal centres, since 2021.
In addition, he is the Chair of the Consumers’ Federation of Australia, the peak body for consumer organisations in Australia.
Brody replaces Elissa Freeman, who served on the predecessor Financial Ombudsman Service’s board and then the inaugural AFCA board for a total of around nine years.
“As a founding board member, Elissa played an important role in the creation of AFCA,” Professor Pollaers said. “We thank Elissa for her commitment to the work of FOS and for her stewardship as AFCA created a new, world-class dispute resolution service.”
The AFCA Board comprises eight directors “with extensive financial services industry and consumer experience”, bringing together “a breadth of knowledge across the multi-dimensional and highly complex industries AFCA covers: banking and finance, insurance, investments and advice, and superannuation”.
The AFCA Board has also extended the current term of Jennifer Darbyshire.
– Rich Data Co (RDC), which works alongside several of Australia’s big four banks, has appointed Mike Pratt AM to its Board of Directors.
RDC welcomed Pratt, noting his “exemplary corporate career and depth of banking experience”.
Pratt will serve “to strengthen the company’s corporate governance and support RDC’s leadership team to execute on its purpose to accelerate the impact of AI in the banking sector and enhance financial inclusion”, RDC said in a statement.
Pratt was formerly the Regional Head of Consumer and SME Banking, Northeast Asia at Standard Chartered Bank; Group Executive of Westpac Business & Consumer Banking; CEO of National Australia Bank in Australia; CEO of Bank of New Zealand; and CEO of Bank of Melbourne.
He is a former President of the Australian Institute of Banking and Finance and was the inaugural Joint President of the Financial Services Professional Body of Australia.
“Mike’s experience in the upper echelons of corporate Australia, and the calibre of his current and former directorships, speak volumes of his expansive and highly relevant knowledge, leadership and skill.”
RDC Chairman & Co-Founder, Michael Coomer, said he was “delighted to welcome Mike to the RDC board”.
“Having had the privilege of working alongside Mike in former banking sector roles over the past 20 years, I’ve seen in real-time how Mike’s early adoption and embracing of data, analytics and technology has shaped the industry and benefited customers across Australia.
“I know he will be a hugely influential addition to the RDC DNA, and to the evolution of the sector’s thinking on AI more broadly. Mike’s attentiveness to the opportunities AI offers in enabling more inclusive opportunities for customers seamlessly integrates with RDC’s commitment to AI for good.”
Alongside its success in the Australian and Asia-Pacific markets, RDC is currently expanding its offering to the North American market, in partnership and with guidance from cloud banking developer nCino.
– HESTA has appointed investment and governance specialist Sue Dahn to its board as Director and Investment Committee Chair.
Dahn most recently served as Director of Spirit Super for nearly 12 years.
At HESTA, she replaces Investment Committee Chair Mark Burgess who announced in February that he would leave the industry fund’s board to join Australian Retirement Trust.
Dahn, an investment adviser partner and executive director at Pitcher Partners, is currently chair of the investment committee for Breakthrough Victoria, and the Australian Communities Foundation.
At Pitcher Partners, she founded the Investment Advisory practice, advising on over $6.5 billion in funds.
Before joining Pitcher Partners, Dahn worked as an accountant with KPMG in audit and Arthur Anderson in tax.
She later held senior financial positions in the Victorian Government Departments of Premier and Cabinet and Treasury and Finance.
She is a former chair of the investment committee at MTAA Super Fund, AGEST Super and ESS Super.