puff of white smoke spotted at the Commonwealth Bank office on Monday
morning may have been its embattled board signalling it's anointed a
replacement for chief executive Ian Narev.
With less than a
year to go before Narev walks out the door and the upheaval likely to
get worse - what with the APRA public inquiry and possible overseas
probes into alleged money laundering lapses - the bank needs an outsider
to take the reins.
It also needs an experienced banker. And it needs that person getting up to speed right now.
the appointment of former Westpac veteran Rob Whitfield to the CBA
board on Monday was as significant as Catherine Livingstone's
appointment to the board last year.
appointment as a non-executive director just months ahead of her
elevation to chairwoman, Whitfield - who was already being touted as a
contender to replace Narev - is not there to make up the numbers.
a new CEO from a company's own boardroom is becoming a trend at major
corporations, where selection of a CEO can make or break the reputations
of all involved.
Suncorp's Ziggy Switkowski followed this rout
when it came to hiring Michael Cameron as the new CEO in 2015. So did
CBD publisher Fairfax Media with the appointment of Greg Hywood as CEO.
left Westpac in 2015 for a two-year stint as the NSW Treasury
Secretary, after missing out on the top job at Westpac following Gail
His time spent dealing with politicians and
bureaucrats will serve Whitfield well, but it is not the main reason he
is on numerous shortlists for Narev's job.
Unlike many of Narev's direct reports, Whitfield is a career banker. He joined Westpac as a graduate in 1986.
as his NSW Treasury bio points out, he is no slouch when it comes to
those ticklish areas like risk management that have so befuddled the
current team at CBA.
"He held a number of key roles for Westpac
during his 30-year career including: chief risk officer, group executive
risk and group treasurer," the NSW Treasury website says.
was also a key figure in developing risk functions and risk management
strategies for Westpac, particularly through the global financial
Whitfield famously took a massive pay cut, to a base salary of $550,000, when poached by NSW Premier Mike Baird in 2015.
Whitfield's final pay packet at Westpac topped $4.8 million. The CEO job at CBA would return him to the big league.
source : smh.com.au