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Major bank restructures, reshuffles leadership

A big four bank has announced it will restructure, including by changing its senior leadership for business and consumer banking.

Westpac chief executive Peter King has announced that the group is changing its structure, appointing two separate heads for consumer banking and business banking.

Jason Yetton, Westpac’s CEO for specialist businesses and a former CEO of SocietyOne, will become the new CEO of consumer banking.

Anthony Miller, the head of Westpac’s Institutional Bank, will become the CEO of business & wealth, with Nell Hutton (general manager, financial markets at Westpac Institutional Bank) joining the executive team as the CEO of the Institutional Bank.

As such, the current CEO of consumer and business banking, Chris de Bruin, has announced his intention to resign “to pursue other opportunities.

In other changes, Westpac is also establishing a stand-alone function to accelerate its technology simplification and will move operations to corporate services, creating “an expanded shared services team”.

Carolyn McCann – who is currently responsible for corporate services will become the group executive customer & corporate services.

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Elsewhere, Scott Collary will move from his position as group executive, customer services & technology to become chief information officer.

The changes will take effect on 1 August 2023 and will be reflected in the 2024 financial results.

New consumer banking and business heads appointed ‘to sharpen focus’

Announcing the changes, Westpac CEO Mr King said the restructure would support the group’s “next strategic phase”.

“To sharpen our focus, we are appointing dedicated group executives responsible for consumer banking and business banking,” Mr King said.

He flagged Mr Yetton’s 30-year history with the group, adding: “His breadth of expertise stretches across all facets of banking, including time running Westpac’s retail and business banking division from 2011 to 2015.

“Jason has also led our portfolio simplification since 2020.”

Speaking of Mr Miller’s experience, Mr King said that he had grown the institutional business while “improving return ever since joining three years ago.

“He is a seasoned banker, having held executive and client-facing roles at some of the world’s leading banks. Anthony is well placed to drive growth in Westpac business banking,” he said.

The Westpac CEO also acknowledged the decision by Mr de Bruin to leave the group.

He stated: “I want to thank Chris [de Bruin] for his contribution to the bank.

“In particular, he’s led the digitisation of the consumer bank, including the delivery of major initiatives such as the digital mortgage and payment solutions. He’s also driven our branch co-location strategy and strengthened the franchise.

“Chris will assist with the transition to the new structure.”

He also welcomed Ms Hutton to the executive team, saying she was an outstanding leader, who has delivered a strong performance during her time leading financial markets.

Commenting on the new CIO, Mr King said the group had a significant technology and customer agenda underway and that Mr Collary would continue to spearhead [Westpac’s] technology transformation with a focus on streamlining [its] tech systems across the Westpac Group”.

He flagged that Ms McCann will now be leading an expanded division for customer and corporate shared services, including operations, helping leverage the benefits of scale.

In conclusion, Mr King said: “Over the past few years we’ve simplified the bank, including exiting nine businesses. As a result, we no longer need a specialist businesses division.

“The new structure will give the leadership team a greater focus on growing their businesses and delivering for customers.”

Unpicking the change from 2021

The changes mark the second major restructure for the big four bank in the past decade. In 2015, it restructured its Australian retail and business banking operations in an attempt to accelerate the group’s customer-focused strategy.

However, it merged the two units together in 2021 as part of a decision to consolidate divisional management and “simplify the business”. It was at this point that Mr de Bruin, who had been CEO, consumer, took over stewardship of both consumer and business banking.

Speaking at the time, Mr King said by creating a combined division, it would “drive simplification of banking and help to reduce cost, including by consolidating support functions”.

He added: “The change will enable more efficient utilisation of common assets such as branches and call centres, and better capitalise on the work underway to improve our capabilities, particularly in service, digital and data.”

[Related: Westpac board member retires after 9 years]

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