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Former Barclays head appointed Westpac NZ CEO

The major bank has named the former head of channels at Barclays Group as the new chief executive of its New Zealand division.

The board of Westpac New Zealand, alongside Westpac Group CEO Peter King, has confirmed that Catherine McGrath will be its next CEO.

She is scheduled to commence in her role on 15 November, subject to regulatory approvals in Australia and New Zealand.

Westpac New Zealand’s current acting CEO, Simon Power, will remain in the role during this interim period, before returning to his permanent role as general manager, institutional and business banking. 

Prior to her appointment, Ms McGrath served in a series of banking leadership positions throughout New Zealand and the UK. 

In 2013, she joined Barclays Group, leading its Open Banking implementation and the development of its Community Banking proposition, while also acting as the group’s head of channels during her tenure.  

From 2010 to 2012, Ms McGrath was an executive with ASB Bank New Zealand, the role following her four years with Lloyds TSB Bank as a divisional chief risk officer and as a transaction banking director. 

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Speaking of her upcoming role, Ms McGrath said that she was excited about what the opportunity presents.

Westpac New Zealand is a strong and trusted brand, with a clear focus on customers and community,” she said. 

“I am excited by the opportunity ahead and the role we can play in supporting New Zealand.”

Westpac Group CEO Mr King added that Ms McGrath was an “experienced and well-respected financial services leader”, and that both he and the Westpac New Zealand board were “delighted she ha[d] accepted this critical role leading the New Zealand business and as a member of the Westpac Group executive team”. 

“Catherine’s banking career started at the Bank of New Zealand. Since then, she has driven large-scale transformations at some of the world’s best-known banks, including Barclays Group and Lloyds TSB in the UK,” he said.

“Westpac New Zealand is a strong business that has been serving New Zealanders for 160 years. In our recent portfolio review of the business, we identified ways to improve service for customers, including improving our digital capabilities, an area in which Catherine has considerable management expertise.

“I would also like to thank Simon Power who has acted in the role while we undertook a global search. Simon took on the role at a challenging time and we are grateful for his leadership.” 

The chair-elect of the board of Westpac New Zealand, Pip Greenwood, said: “Catherine joins Westpac New Zealand at a time of opportunity for our business, as we support New Zealanders through the challenges of COVID-19, and we seek to differentiate ourselves through leading customer service.”

[Related: Westpac agrees to terminate Pacific sale]

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