Westpac appoints new CEO

Peter KingWestpac has announced the appointment of Peter King as Westpac’s new CEO.

Westpac chairman John McFarlane said that in moments of global stress and uncertainty, management stability is vital. “I believe we need a Chief Executive in place now, not later, and with full, rather than acting authority.”

King has been Acting Westpac Group CEO since December 2019 and has worked at Westpac for the past 25 years. He said it was a great honour and agreed to hold the role for two years.

“We are focused on responding to the COVID-19 outbreak and supporting our customers and protecting our people,” King said.

“We have a critical role to play alongside Government and regulators in supporting Australians and New Zealanders and our countries’ financial systems.”

He also said that Westpac and its staff have been responding well to the crisis, saying: “I am incredibly proud of how our people are responding to this crisis with genuine care, compassion and support for each other and for our customers.”

McFarlane also said the Westpac board and CEO agreed to cancel CEO and group executive bonuses for 2020 in recognition of “collective accountability for the financial crime outcomes in Westpac’s business which led to the action brought by AUSTRAC.”

Mercer announced new pacific zone leader and Australia CEO

David Bryant

Mercer has appointed David Bryant as its Pacific Zone Leader and Australia CEO, following the departure of Ben Walsh at the end of April. Bryant will report to David Anderson, president of Mercer’s international region.

Bryant is currently the chief executive officer, wealth & capital markets, and chief investment officer at Australian Unity where he has held senior leadership roles since joining in 2004. Before that, he was the general manager, superannuation and private clients, at Perpetual.

In his new role at Mercer, Bryant will work with the pacific leadership team to advance the firm’s position across Australia and New Zealand.

“Given his 28 years of experience across the financial services industry, David Bryant is the right person to lead Mercer forward in the Pacific,” said David Anderson, president, international for Mercer. “David has substantial experience leading multiple lines of business and has a strong track record of building highly successful and diverse leadership teams to execute on new strategies.”

Anderson thanked Ben Walsh for his leadership in the Pacific over the last five years, saying: “Our team’s achievements under his leadership are many during a period of significant growth and substantial change.”

He also thanked Jo-Anne Bloch, the acting CEO until Bryant commences.

AIA announces new chief life insurance appointment

Ben Walsh

AIA Australia has announced the appointment of senior industry executive Ben Walsh in the newly created role of chief life insurance officer, effective 1 June 2020.

At AIA Walsh will drive the direction of the life insurance arm of the business, which includes CommInsure Life.

Commenting on the new appointment, chief executive and managing director of AIA Australia and New Zealand, Damien Mu said: “We’re thrilled to have secured such a high-calibre leader in Ben, who joins the AIA family with decades of experience and a shared passion for purpose and making a difference in peoples’ lives.

“We have a unique customer value proposition of Life, Health and Wellbeing and each of those pillars is fundamental to our shared value model. In heading up the Life pillar of the business, Ben will pay a key role in helping us realise our vision of making Australia and New Zealand the healthiest and best protected nations in the world.”

Walsh said: “I have admired AIA and its people since prior to its listing on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, and over the years have been fortunate enough to visit its operations and leadership in Hong Kong, Shanghai, Singapore and Australia. As the largest global life insurer in the world, AIA is extremely well placed to deliver its vision and in this new role, I look forward to helping the business and team, along with clients and partners, make Australia one of the healthiest and best protected nations in the world.”

Walsh is an experienced industry executive, having worked for Mercer and its sister company Marsh for more than 25 years, most recently as managing director and CEO of Australia and New Zealand.

Schroders announces promotion for CEO

Chris Durack

Schroders has announced leadership appointments in the Asia Pacific region.

Following the promotion of Lieven Debruyne from CEO, Asia Pacific to global head of distribution earlier this year, Chris Durack, country head of Australia, (along with Susan Soh, country head of Singapore), will succeed Lieven Debruyne. Durack and Soh have been appointed as co-heads of Asia Pacific and will retain their roles as country heads of Australia and Singapore respectively.

Chris Durack has served as CEO of Schroders Australia since 2018, having originally joined Schroders as head of distribution in Australia in 2011 and then serving as country head of Schroders Hong Kong. Prior to this, he was CEO of NSW State Super Corporation.

Lieven Debruyne said: “I am pleased to hand over leadership of the APAC business to established senior leaders Chris Durack and Susan Soh. With their combined wealth of industry and client engagement experience, our strong performing business across Asia Pacific is well positioned for the next stage of growth.”