Westpac chief executive Gail Kelly is stepping down after eight years at the helm, to be replaced by the bank’s head of wealth.
Kelly will retire as chief executive on 1 February 2015 after having led Westpac through significant change, namely the global financial crisis (GFC).
“Gail is one of Australia’s most successful CEOs. She was appointed as the GFC was unfolding and her leadership and dedication has seen Westpac emerge a stronger and better company. During her tenure the value of the company has more than doubled, with market capitalisation increasing from just under $50 billion to around $104 billion,” Westpac chair Lindsay Maxsted said.
The bank has promoted from within and appointed Brian Hartzer to succeed Kelly as group chief executive.
Hartzer is current chief executive of Australian Financial Services (AFS), heading the Group’s retail business banking and wealth businesses, notably St George Banking Group and BT Financial Group.
Kelly said, “Brian and I have worked closely during the past two and a half years. He is a proven leader and wonderful fit for the Westpac culture.”
Prior to joinging Westpec in 2012, Harzter held positions at prominent institutions during his 25 years in the financial services sector. Including chief executive officer for retail and commerical banking businesses and stratergy lead for wealth management businesses at ANZ, and chief executive at the Royal Bank of Scotland, UK retail wealth division.
Commenting further on Kelly’s exodus, Maxsted credited her focus on development of people within the Group to the internal promotion, noting her work driving the growth of women in senior executive roles as well.
“One of Gail’s many strengths has been her development of an outstanding executive team. This nurturing of talent has not only enabled the Board to choose an internal candidate for the succession, it sets the Group up for success beyond her tenure,” said Maxsted.