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Non-major bank announces new CEO

A new chief executive officer will take over the helm at an agricultural lender following the retirement of the current leader, Peter Knoblanche.

Rabobank has announced the appointment of Mark Wiessing as CEO for Rabobank Australia and regional manager, Australia and New Zealand, where he will lead the global food and agribusiness bank’s operations in the Australian and New Zealand region. 

Mr Wiessing — who has served as regional manager, South America and CEO, Brazil for Rabobank for the past seven years and has been at the lender for more than 16 years — will commence in the position on 1 May 2023.

The incoming CEO has more than 30 years’ experience in the financial sector, including at Standard Bank of South Africa, Citibank, and ING. 

Subject to regulatory approval, he will take over the position from Mr Knoblanche, who will retire in May next year following seven years in the role and 27 years with the bank.  

Commenting on the move, Rabobank Australia’s chair, Sir Henry van der Heyden, said: “We’re delighted to have an international banking executive of Mark’s calibre and experience to oversee the bank’s operations in the region, following Peter Knoblanche’s retirement next year.

“Mark’s experience in leading one of Rabobank’s key international franchises, serving the top food and agri corporates and farmers in South America, will also help provide a seamless transition at the helm of Rabobank Australia.

“We’re delighted to have an international banking executive of Mark’s calibre and experience to oversee the bank’s operations in the region, following Peter Knoblanche’s retirement next year.”

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Mr Wiessing said it was “an immense honour” to be selected to lead Rabobank across the Australia and New Zealand region. 

“I am looking forward to relocating to Australia in the new year and continuing to support our clients in the region on their journey to sustainably build their businesses and also to build upon the strong culture across Rabobank’s Australia and New Zealand operations,” he said. 

The chair also thanked outgoing CEO Mr Knoblanche for his “outstanding contribution” to the lender over the past 27 years, noting his “exceptional commitment and contribution to Rabobank, the bank’s clients and employees” throughout his lengthy career with the bank.

“Under Peter’s leadership as Rabobank Australia CEO and Regional Manager for Australia and New Zealand — and his previous position as Group Executive Country Banking Australia — the bank has gone from strength to strength as a leading financial partner of Australia and New Zealand’s food and agribusiness industries,” Sir van der Heyden said. 

“In keeping with Rabobank’s strong cooperative values, Peter has at all times put the very best interests of the food and agribusiness sector, our clients and our people at the heart of his leadership.   

“His passion for agriculture and understanding of our business and our clients has been second to none and we wish him a wonderful, and very well deserved, retirement.” 

Mr Knoblanche said it had been “an enormous privilege” to have spent a significant part of his career working “at such an outstanding values-based organisation whose greatest asset is its people and their unwavering focus on our clients and their commitment to making a lasting contribution to the region, and the global food and agriculture industry”. 

[Related:ANZ appoints new head of commercial]

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