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CBA names incoming chair

The current chair of the big four bank is set to depart, with her successor already being named.

Catherine Livingstone will resign after six years on the major bank’s board in August, with non-executive director Paul O'Malley to take her place.

Ms Livingstone became chair in 2017, replacing David Turner.

She commented that she had joined the bank when it had addressed a number of “complex challenges” through the royal commission, helping rebuild its reputation, and she had also been there through the pandemic.


“The group has made significant progress on this strategy which focused on CBA’s core banking businesses. This has enabled the bank to build on that foundation and evolve its growth strategy to one of building tomorrow’s bank today – both for its customers and for the leadership role expected of it in supporting the transition of the Australian economy,” Ms Livingstone said.

“It is therefore an appropriate time to hand over to the next chair to lead this ambitious agenda and guide the bank through its next phase.”

Her replacement, Mr O'Malley, is currently chair of the CBA board remuneration committee and has been a board member since January 2019.

Previously, he was managing director and chief executive of BlueScope Steel for 10 years, up until 2017. He had managed the company through the global financial crisis.

He had also been the CEO of TXU Energy, a subsidiary of TXU Corp in Dallas, Texas.

Currently, Mr O'Malley is also a board director of Coles Group and the chair of its audit and risk committee.

He said it was a privilege to be appointed chair of Australia’s largest bank. His term in the new role will commence from 10 August.

“With the support of the board, CEO and management team I am absolutely committed to helping CBA build on the strong progress achieved over recent years under Catherine’s leadership and continuing to deliver rewarding outcomes for all our stakeholders,” he said.

“The bank is playing a leading part in supporting Australia’s economic growth agenda and its transition to both a sustainable and a digital economy.

“I am looking forward to helping lead this vibrant and important organisation through its next strategic growth phase and delivering outcomes for shareholders, customers and communities.”

He also paid tribute to Ms Livingstone’s term, commenting she had led the bank through a number of challenges, including a renewal of the board and the appointment of Matt Comyn to CEO during the royal commission.

“Catherine’s tenure coincided with a time of considerable turmoil for CBA and the financial services industry more broadly, and [she] has ably led the group through a number of its most significant challenges,” Mr O'Malley said.

She had also led the bank’s remedial action plan, implementing recommendations from APRA to overhaul the bank’s governance, risk management and accountability frameworks.

Previously, Ms Livingstone had held a number of senior roles across organisations, including chair of Telstra and CSIRO; and managing director and CEO of Cochlear.

She has also been on the boards of Macquarie Group, Goodman Fielder and Rural Press, as well as being a former president of the Business Council of Australia and the Australian Museum.

Currently, she is chancellor of the University of Technology Sydney.

[Related: Australian Unity appoints new bank CEO]

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