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Major bank announces leadership change

The board of ANZ Bank New Zealand has appointed Antonia Watson as CEO.

Antonia Watson will also serve as a director on the bank’s board and will join ANZ Group’s executive committee with responsibilities for the Pacific.  

ANZ NZ chair Sir John Key welcomed Ms Watson’s appointment. 

“Antonia is a warm, empathetic and inclusive leader who is also methodical in her thinking and forensic in her analysis,” he said.

“Most importantly, she is authentic – what you see is her and she’ll be upfront and honest with you.”


The chair added that he is confident Ms Watson would help the bank navigate through challenges, which include increased capital requirements, more regulation and regulatory oversight, higher customer and public expectations of financial institutions and increasing competition from new entrants to the industry.

“The board is confident Antonia has all the skills to help ANZ NZ navigate this new environment and ensure the bank flourishes,” he said. 

Ms Watson is the first New Zealand woman to lead the organisation.

The new NZ CEO joined ANZ in 2009 as financial controller before becoming chief financial officer in 2012. In 2017, she was appointed managing director of retail and business banking.

ANZ NZ will commence a process shortly to recruit a new managing director of retail and business banking, with Ben Kelleher to continue as acting managing director in the meantime. 

[Related: UBank CEO joins Suncorp]

Major bank announces leadership change

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