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Heartland Group chairperson steps down

The group announced that its current chairperson Geoff Ricketts has decided to step down for an indefinite period due to ill health.

The commercial lawyer, company director, and investor held the position of chairman at Heartland Group Holdings Limited (Heartland) since January 2011 and will vacate the position effective immediately, although he will remain onboard as a director.

Mr Ricketts carries extensive experience across the New Zealand and Australian business environments, having previously held various directorships and chairman roles with Suncorp Group New Zealand, Todd Corporation, Spotless Group, Oceania and Eastern Limited, Lion Nathan, and Mercury Capital Limited.

Mr Ricketts retired from the Suncorp board (where he was the director for two decades) in September 2016 and was replaced by Simon Machell as a non-executive director.

In addition, Mr Ricketts also carries experience as a commercial lawyer in New Zealand and Australia, being a partner at Russell McVeagh.

He was named the Deloitte/New Zealand Management Magazine Chairperson of the Year in 2008 and received the insignia of a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit for his services to education, the arts, and business in 2013.

Heartland’s deputy chairperson Greg Tomlinson is set to assume the role of chairperson, subject to board approval.

The Christchurch-based businessman and investor has four decades’ worth of experience in owning, managing, and building businesses. Mr Tomlinson established Impact Capital that has active investments in the aged care, animal pharmaceutical, finance, and wine sectors.

Acquisition of Challenger Bank

Heartland announced in October last year that it was set to acquire digital bank Challenger Bank Limited (Challenger Bank), which included its $89 million retail lending and $228 million of deposits.

The financial services group signed a conditional share purchase agreement for the purchase of the digital bank from investment management firm Challenger Limited.

Heartland revealed that it would move to transfer its existing reverse mortgage and livestock businesses in Australia “to sit in or under Challenger Bank” once the deal finalises.

The group said the acquisition would help achieve its “strategic objective for expansion in Australia”, which includes becoming a bank.

Jeff Greenslade, chief executive of Heartland, commented at the time: “Heartland’s purchase of Challenger Bank signals a major step forward in our Australian expansion strategy.

“A pathway to acquiring an ADI licence would create access to deep and efficient funding pools which allows for growth and the possibility of improved margins.

“This particular acquisition also presents the opportunity to build a high-quality and scalable banking platform in Australia, allowing reach to more customers.”

[RELATED: Heartland to acquire Challenger Bank]

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