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CBA names new CEO

Australia’s largest lender has announced the appointment of a new chief executive officer.

Matt Comyn will be the new CEO of the Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA), effective 9 April 2018, replacing Ian Narev, who announced in August that he would retire before the end of this financial year, after more than six years in the role.

CBA chairman Catherine Livingstone said that a thorough global and local search for the role identified “an exceptional field of candidates”.

However, the board concluded that Mr Comyn, 42, has the best mix of attributes and values needed to lead the Commonwealth Bank.

He has nearly 20 years’ experience in banking across business, institutional, retail and wealth management.

He joined the Commonwealth Bank Group in 1999 where he has held a number of senior leadership roles. In 2012, he was appointed group executive retail banking services, which now accounts for half of the group’s profit, and also leads the development of digital products and services on behalf of the group. Between 2006 and 2010, Mr Comyn was managing director of CBA’s biggest digital business, CommSec.

Mr Comyn has also formerly held the title of CEO of Morgan Stanley’s wealth business in Australia.

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He holds an executive MBA from Sydney University; a master’s degree in commerce, majoring in finance, from the University of New South Wales; and a bachelor’s degree in aviation, also from UNSW. He has also completed the General Management Program at Harvard Business School.

“The board is delighted that Matt Comyn has accepted the offer to lead the Commonwealth Bank. We believe he was the outstanding candidate, best placed to lead the bank at an important time in its history,” CBA chairman Ms Livingstone said.

“The board’s main priorities in selecting the new CEO were to identify the candidate who will maintain the momentum in the business and address the regulatory and reputational challenges and recognise evolving community expectations. The candidate also needs to transform the business and adapt the organisational capability and culture to suit the rapidly evolving competitive and technology-centric environment.

“Matt has gained respect across the banking sector both in Australia and globally. His track record is one of delivering very strong business performance, as well as a range of innovative, sustainable business improvements that have strengthened customer outcomes. These have included initiatives reflecting our vision of enhancing financial wellbeing and consistently industry-leading customer satisfaction ratings for the retail bank.”

Ms Livingstone noted that the board sincerely thanks Ian Narev for his leadership of the bank over the past six years.

“Under Ian’s leadership, CBA has become a more inclusive and innovative organisation, and an employer of choice for gender and social diversity. It has also achieved and sustained industry-leading customer satisfaction ratings, through continued investment in its people and its technology advantage,” Ms Livingstone said.

CBA’s total shareholder return during Ian’s time as CEO is over 120 per cent, significantly ahead of the other major banks and the ASX 200 average for the same period.

Retiring CEO Ian Narev said that it has been a great honour for him to lead the Commonwealth Bank during a period of great change.

“I am delighted that Matt will lead CBA. He is a respected and trusted executive whom I know will give his all as CEO for the bank’s customers, people and shareholders,” Mr Narev said.

“Matt’s values run deep. He is a person of integrity and openness, and has a passion for CBA’s vision. I know he will enhance the best aspects of CBA, while making the changes needed to address the challenges which lie ahead. I am very committed to working with him to achieve a smooth transition in the leadership of the business.”

Incoming CEO Matt Comyn said that it is a great privilege to be selected to lead the Commonwealth Bank.

“CBA is both a significant Australian institution and a world-class bank, with a proud history that has delivered great outcomes for its customers, shareholders and people for decades, and is well positioned to build on that success for many years to come,” Mr Comyn said.

“I am excited by the opportunity to lead the organisation into this next phase of change and transformation. In terms of outcomes, I believe we can achieve the right balance in meeting the expectations of customers, shareholders and the community, with a sharp focus on our core purpose.

“We can empower our customers to achieve financial wellbeing, and through this broaden and deepen the contribution we make to Australia’s economy. By virtue of the position CBA holds in the community, we need to equally demonstrate the highest levels of integrity and operational standards to earn stronger levels of trust within the community and regulators.

“The last six months in particular have been very challenging, and I am committed to working with the board, the executive team and our wonderful people to rebuild trust in the Commonwealth Bank together.

“It is important that we maintain the momentum underway, upgrading and strengthening our governance, accountability and risk management, while delivering strong financial performance. We are in a period of significant technology and competitive change, and I look forward to ensuring [that] we remain at the forefront of technology, innovation and a great customer experience.”

Mr Comyn’s annual salary will be $2.2. million (inclusive of super), which will be reviewed annually.

[Related: CBA CEO to ‘retire’ next year]

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