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CBA announces executive leadership appointments

The major bank has made changes to its executive leadership team, which include a new appointee charged with overseeing programs designed to manage risk and simplify the bank.   

CEO of the Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) Matt Comyn has announced the appointment of Carmel Mulhern and Scott Wharton to the group’s executive leadership team.

Ms Mulhern has been appointed to the role of group executive, group general counsel and governance, and will assume the role in January 2020 – subject to regulatory approval.

The new appointee will join CBA from Telstra, where she is currently serving as group general counsel and group executive legal and corporate affairs.

Ms Mulhern has been responsible for providing legal advice to Telstra’s board, CEO and senior management, as well as being responsible for engagement with stakeholders, including government, regulators, media and community.

Since joining Telstra in 2000, she has held the positions of general counsel finance and administration and Telstra’s company secretary, reporting to the board.

Reflecting on her appointment, Mr Comyn said: “Carmel is a respected leader with extensive legal expertise, a proven track record in risk management, a strong focus on doing what is right for customers, and personal and professional values that are aligned with the culture we are building at the bank.

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“I am delighted Carmel is joining the executive leadership team.”

Further, CBA has appointed Scott Wharton to the new role of group executive, program delivery.

Mr Wharton joined CBA in 2016 and has led the implementation of reform programs designed to upgrade the bank’s technology and regulatory operations.

Over the past year, Mr Wharton has reported directly to the CEO and has been responsible for ensuring the bank is implementing the recommendations from the APRA Prudential Inquiry report into governance, culture and accountability within CBA.

Commenting on Mr Wharton’s appointment, Mr Comyn said: “We’re making good progress to become a simpler, better bank, but there is more work to be done. It is critical that programs to manage risk and simplify our business are well executed.

“In this new group executive role, Scott will work with me and my executive leadership team to manage the interdependencies and drive the implementation of these group-wide programs.”

The CBA CEO added: “These two appointments considerably strengthen the capability and capacity of the executive leadership team to provide the leadership and expertise we need to help CBA become a simpler, better bank for our customers and for all of our stakeholders.”

CBA issues update on CommInsure Life sale

Last week, the Commonwealth Bank also announced that it has entered into further agreements to progress the planned divestment of its Australian life insurance business (CommInsure Life) to AIA Group Limited (AIA). 

The planned divestment has been subject to ongoing regulatory approval processes, which, according to CBA, has led to an extended period of uncertainty for CommInsure Life.

The revised transaction path comprises a joint co-operation agreement, reinsurance arrangements, partnership milestone payments and a statutory asset transfer.

The aggregate proceeds for CBA from the transaction are expected to be $2.37 billion, a reduction of $150 million from the original sale price.

These arrangements are expected to be implemented in a staged manner throughout FY20, with CBA to receive approximately $750 million of proceeds and distributions by the end of the first half of FY20, and the remaining $1.65 million by the end of FY20.

CBA and its New Zealand subsidiary ASB have also agreed to grant AIA an option to extend the respective Australian and New Zealand distribution agreements from 20 years to 25 years.

“[The] announcement provides CommInsure Life’s policyholders and staff with more clarity about the future of the business and progresses the simplification of CBA’s portfolio of businesses,” Mr Comyn said.

“We are excited by the opportunity to bring together the strengths of AIA and CommInsure Life and are working hard with our partner to develop a new generation of products for CBA’s customers, which will deliver excellent customer outcomes.”

The revised transaction path is subject to regulatory approvals, entry into reinsurance arrangements and life insurance entity board approvals.



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