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Suncorp Bank’s CEO to depart

Suncorp Bank has announced its banking chief will depart in December to join a wealth company.

The non-major bank has disclosed that its chief executive Clive van Horen will step down on 24 December 2023 to pursue an opportunity in the financial services sector.

Mr van Horen, who has been at the helm since joining Suncorp in August 2020, expressed his appreciation for leading the bank during a transformative period and commended the progress made by the bank’s team.

“Suncorp Bank is a strong business with great people and customers and has many opportunities ahead of it. I am thankful to the Board and the leadership team for their support,” Mr van Horen said.

“I’m also very proud of the Suncorp Bank team and what we’ve achieved working together.

“I continue to believe that the proposed sale of Suncorp Bank to ANZ is in the best interests of the Bank’s customers, people and the broader community.”

Mr van Horen will continue to serve as CEO of Suncorp Bank until the end of the year to ensure a seamless transition.

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This announcement coincides with the ongoing merger deal between Suncorp Bank and ANZ, which is pending review by the independent Australian Competition Tribunal. The review comes after the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) denied them merger authorisation.

CEO Steve Johnston acknowledged Mr van Horen’s pivotal role in executing the bank’s strategic plan to enhance performance over the past three years and expressed his gratitude for his contributions.

“Clive and his team have done an exceptional job in simplifying the Bank and growing our home and business lending portfolios, particularly in what has been a complex and highly competitive market,” Mr Johnston said.

“They have also made great strides in delivering improved experiences for our customers as well as brokers.”

The bank is now a highly respected franchise, thanks to the efforts invested in transforming the business, and it is well-positioned to maintain this positive trajectory into the future, he added.

“We’re disappointed to see him go but wish him all the very best for the future,” Mr Johnston said.

Colonial First State appoints new CEO

Mr van Horen will continue to serve as CEO of Suncorp Bank until the end of the year, before taking the helm at Colonial First State (CFS).

CFS has announced that Mr van Horen will take on the role of new group chief executive officer, commencing 15 January.

Executive chairman of CFS Group Rob Coombe expressed confidence that Clive would make a “significant contribution to CFS” and ensure the non-bank delivers on its ambitious transformation and growth plans.

Mr Coombe will remain closely engaged with the business and will continue in his capacity as executive chairman of CFS Group until Mr van Horen commences in his new role on 15 January 2024, when he will transition to non-executive chairman.

Mr van Horen expressed his excitement about joining CFS, noting that he had worked alongside the business for many years.

“The business has a vitally important purpose to help Australians achieve financial freedom and I am looking forward to helping CFS’ almost 1 million members and investors achieve their goals and aspirations.”

Mr van Horen further commended Clive and the team for their role in “simplifying the bank and growing our home and business lending portfolios”, as well as in delivering “improved experiences for our customers as well as brokers”.

Merger deal ongoing

The ACCC denied authorisation of the ANZ-Suncorp merger due to concerns that the proposed merger could significantly reduce competition in the national home loan market as well as in small- to medium-sized enterprise banking and agribusiness banking in Queensland.

Following a request for review by ANZ of the decision, the independent Australian Competition Tribunal is conducting a thorough reconsideration, with full authority to uphold, overturn, or modify the original decision.

If the Tribunal approves, amending the State Financial Institutions and Metway-Merger Act and securing final approval from the federal Treasurer under the Financial Sector (Shareholdings) Act would be necessary for the sale of Suncorp Bank to ANZ.

With approval, the merger could be finalised by mid-2024.

[Related: ANZ-Suncorp to ask tribunal to review merger denial]

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