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Westpac announces executive retirement, reshuffle

The interim CEO of the bank’s institutional arm has announced his retirement, while the bank has made an internal appointment to the role of group treasurer.

Westpac has announced that acting CEO of Westpac Institutional Bank (WIB) and group treasurer Curt Zuber will retire from Westpac in 2021.

The major bank also announced that it has appointed a replacement for group treasurer internally, replacing Mr Zuber with Joanne Dawson in the role.

Ms Dawson had been acting in the role of group treasurer, while Mr Zuber was acting CEO of WIB.

Westpac Group CEO Peter King thanked Mr Zuber for his service and loyalty to the group over the past 25 years.

“Curt has made an outstanding contribution to the group, particularly leading the all-important treasury function for many years. He has navigated us through a number of challenges, including the global financial crisis and COVID-19,” Mr King said.

“Curt’s insights, commitment and leadership have been invaluable to me personally and to the company, and he has played a significant role in ensuring the strength of Westpac’s balance sheet through some particularly challenging periods.

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“His counsel is sought throughout the bank, and he has built a strong treasury team.”

Mr Zuber has over 30 years of experience working in financial markets. He joined Westpac in 1994 and was appointed as group treasurer in 2004. Prior to being appointed to this role, he held a number of roles, including deputy group treasurer and head of treasury risk.

Mr King said the bank was pleased to appoint Ms Dawson as group treasurer.

“Joanne is a highly experienced leader and has been with Westpac since 2003 and in the role of deputy treasurer since 2008,” Mr King said.

“Her extensive experience in global funding, liquidity and balance sheet management will help ensure a smooth transition to this critical role.”

Ms Dawson has more than 25 years of experience working in financial markets. She worked at IAG Asset Management for almost seven years before joining Westpac in 2003 as senior portfolio manager in group treasury.

Ms Dawson held the role of deputy group treasurer for Westpac for more than 10 years. She was the chief financial officer for WIB from January 2020, before being appointed as acting group treasurer in July.

The latest executive reshuffle has followed a number of personnel changes at the major bank in the recent past.

The former CEO of WIB, Lyn Cobley, announced her retirement from her position in May after five years in the role and more than 30 years in the banking and finance sector.

Mr Zuber, who was then the group treasurer, took over as acting CEO from 1 July, while the group conducted an international search for Mr Cobley’s permanent replacement.

Ms Dawson, who was the chief financial officer, institutional bank and group treasury finance, was appointed as acting group treasurer during this period.

In July, the chief executive of Deutsche Bank, Australia and New Zealand, Anthony Miller, was appointed as permanent CEO of WIB.

Personnel changes at Westpac group

The major bank also announced a number of changes to its executive team this year following the AUSTRAC scandal, where it was found to have breached anti-money laundering laws 23 million times last year.

Westpac Group appointed Michael Rowland as chief financial officer in July, who permanently replaced Gary Thursby, who was acting in the role since December 2019.

Mr Thursby assumed the role from Mr King, who replaced former group CEO Brian Hartzer. Mr Hartzer stepped down from his role following Westpac’s AUSTRAC scandal.

In July, Mr Thursby decided to leave the bank in early 2021, after almost 13 years of service, with former ANZ executive Scott Collary taking over in the revamped role of chief operating officer.

Mr Collary will head up Westpac’s new group operating office, which is an amalgamation of group operations and group technology.

In May, Westpac CEO, consumer, David Lindberg announced that he would leave the bank to assume new roles overseas.

The CEO of Middle Eastern non-bank Deem, Chris de Bruin, was appointed to replace Mr Lindberg as CEO of Westpac’s consumer division.

Chief information officer Craig Bright also announced he would depart to assume a new role overseas, but Westpac has not yet announced a replacement for him.

Last week, the major bank reached a settlement with AUSTRAC to pay a historic $1.3 billion in penalties for breaches of anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing laws.

As part of the settlement, Westpac agreed to file a statement of agreed facts and admissions, which incur the record penalty, subject to Federal Court approval.

[Related: Westpac woes mount amid new disclosure failures]

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