Westpac appoints new CEO

by Madison Utley02 Apr 2020

Westpac has today announced the appointment of its new chief executive officer, recognising that management stability and strength are “vital in moments of global stress and uncertainty”.

Acting CEO Peter King, who stepped into the position from his previous role as chief financial officer upon Brian Hartzer’s departure in late November, will officially assume the title.

“I believe we need a chief executive in place now, not later, and with full, rather than acting authority,” explained chairman John McFarlane.

“On my recommendation, the board has appointed Peter King as CEO.”

King has agreed to step into the role for two years.

“[King] understands the bank, its business and its finances, and has the confidence of the management team, as well as my own and that of the board,” said McFarlane.

“He and I are also completely aligned on what needs to be done. He is the right person to take the company forward at the present time, and now has the full authority to make change and to see it through.”

After having worked at Westpac for the past 25 years, King said it’s a “great honour” to be appointed CEO.

While the group is currently focused on responding to the COVID-19 outbreak and supporting its customers and protecting its people, King is also gearing up for the “challenges ahead”.

“My medium-term priorities remain to drive performance through our lines of business and sharper accountability, simplify the business through digital transformation, and lift our service culture and risk management capability,” he said.

The bank’s board also decided CEO and group executive annual short-term variable rewards for 2020 will be cancelled, in recognition of the “collective accountability” for the financial crime outcomes in Westpac’s business which led to the action brought by AUSTRAC.