Big bank Westpac (ASX: WBC) has announced the latest news arising from the AUSTRAC scandal.
Westpac Banking Corporation, more commonly known as Westpac, is one of Australia’s ‘Big Four’ banks and a financial services provider headquartered in Sydney. It is one of Australia’s largest lenders to homeowners, investors, individuals (via credit cards and personal loans) and businesses.
Westpac CEO And Board Changes
Westpac Chairman Lindsay Maxsted has announced a number of leadership and Board changes after the AUSTRAC Statement of Claim scandal.
Mr Maxsted revealed that Westpac CEO Brian Hartzer will be stepping down as CEO with current chief financial officer (CFO) Peter King taking over as acting CEO on 2 December 2019. Current chief operating officer (COO) Gary Thursby will act as CFO.
Long term director Ewen Crouch has decided he will not seek re-election at the upcoming Westpac annual general meeting (AGM). Mr Maxsted has also announced he will bring forward his retirement to the first half of 2020.
This will enable the new Chairman and the Board to oversee the appointment of a new CEO.
Mr Maxsted said: “The Board accepts the gravity of the issues raised by AUSTRAC. As was appropriate, we sought feedback from all our stakeholders including shareholders and having done so it become clear that Board and management changes were in the best interest of the Bank.
“Peter [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. He is an executive of exceptional integrity who is deeply respected by the market and the entire Westpac team.”
Mr Maxsted also paid tribute to Mr Hartzer’s performance as CEO by saying that the bank has a strong balance sheet and each of its businesses were number one or number two in their markets.
In a short statement, Mr Hartzer said: “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.”
Acting CEO Mr King will receive an annual wage of $2.1 million and annual short term variable reward of $2.1 million with annual long term incentives of $2.8 million.
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At the time of publishing, Jaz does not have a financial interest in any of the companies mentioned.