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Westpac non-executive director signals board exit

The major bank has confirmed that one of its non-executive directors has made the decision to step down.

Westpac Banking Corporation (Westpac) announced this week that its non-executive director, Steven Harker, has resolved to retire from the major bank’s board. 

Mr Harker first joined the board in March 2019. 

During his time, Mr Harker was a member of the board audit, board legal, regulatory and compliance and board remuneration committees.

Mr Harker previously served as the vice-chairman of Morgan Stanley Australia from 2016 and to 2019.

According to a statement from the major bank, Mr Harker’s decision to step down is related to his health. 

Westpac’s chairman of the board John McFarlane said: “Early this year Steve signaled he was considering retiring from the board as he requires a double lung transplant and wants to focus on his health.

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“We commend Steve for his professionalism and commitment to shareholders throughout his tenure and wish him a fast recovery.”

Mr Harker noted: “The time is right for me to retire. I am confident Westpac is on the right path to restore trust and performance for customers and shareholders.”

Mr Harker’s decision comes less than one month after he was implicated in the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists’ “Pandora Papers”, a collection of 2.94 terabytes of leaked data that includes 11.9 million records regarding the offshore business structures and wealth building strategies used by hundreds of politicians, billionaires, religious leaders and celebrities across the world. 

As previously reported by mainstream media titles, including the Australian Financial Review, Mr Harker was associated with the leak via his Samoa-based superannuation fund. 

The fund was reportedly administered by Asiaciti Trust, a “boutique business entangled in tax-avoidance schemes”.

[Related: Heartland names incoming COO]

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