Compliance & Regulation

Westpac Board announces CEO and Board changes

Westpac Group has announced a number of executive and Board changes in the wake of the AUSTRAC Statement of Claim.

Brian Hartzer, Group Chief Executive Officer, has exited the firm. Peter King, Chief Financial Officer, Westpac Group, has been announced to be taking over as acting CEO, beginning December 2019.

Westpac Group’s current Current Chief Operating Officer, Gary Thursby will act as CFO.

Westpac Group Chairman, Lindsay Maxsted, also revealed that Ewen Crouch, Director, Westpac Group, has decided he will not seek re-election. Maxsted has similarly confirmed he will bring forward his retirement as Chairman to the first half of 2020.

Of King’s appointment, Maxsted stated that “King has had a long and distinguished career at Westpac and has been the CFO since 2014. He is the right choice to provide stability and direction to the Bank and its people. The Board has asked King to focus on two immediate priorities: to implement the Westpac Response Plan and to continue to execute the Group’s broader strategy.”

Maxsted continued, saying of Hartzer’s departure that “Hartzer leaves the Bank with a strong balance sheet, with each of our businesses number one or two in their markets.”

Hartzer stated that “As CEO I accept that I am ultimately accountable for everything that happens at the Bank. And it is clear that we have fallen well short of what the community expects of us, and we expect of ourselves.”

King commented that “I am honoured to be appointed to this role. I understand the responsibility of this position and the importance of Westpac both as an institution and Australia’s oldest bank. I am committed to helping address the current issues and restore the reputation of the bank.”

Westpac, one of Australia’s largest banks, has been sued by Australian regulators for its alleged AUS23 million breaches of counter-terrorism financing and money-laundering laws.

Most of the offences concerned the late reporting of overseas transactions, but the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre, according to an article by BBC News.