Westpac appoints new boss of its retail banking division


Westpac has chosen a South African as the new head of its retail banking division, closing a global search for the top position that has lain vacant since June.

The country’s second largest bank on Monday announced Chris de Bruin as its new executive for consumer retail banking. He is set to take up the role in early 2021.

Westpac’s top retail banking position was abandoned by David Lindberg in late May. He left left the bank to take up an executive position at major British bank Natwest, which is part of the Royal Bank of Scotland group.

Former retail banking executive David Lindberg. Picture: Supplied.
media_cameraFormer retail banking executive David Lindberg. Picture: Supplied.

It has previously been reported Mr Lindberg’s decision to leave Westpac was due to the bank appointing Peter King as its new chief executive following the shock resignation of Brian Hartzer, who was ousted over the bank’s Austrac money-laundering scandal.

Mr Lindberg was rumoured to be a protege of Mr Hartzer. His position at the UK bank was previously held by Mr Hartzer in 2009.

In 2019, the financial crimes watchdog hit the major bank with a lawsuit alleging 23 million breaches of anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism finance laws.

Austrac revealed the breaches related to international funds transfers that were linked to child exploitation, human trafficking and terrorism financing.

Westpac in May admitted 19.4 million of the breaches.

Since Mr Lindberg’s departure, Richard Burton has been acting as interim executive for the retail branch of the banking group.

Former Westpac CEO Brian Hartzer. He was forced to resign following the bank’s 2019 Austrac scandal. Picture: AAP Lukas Coch
media_cameraFormer Westpac CEO Brian Hartzer. He was forced to resign following the bank’s 2019 Austrac scandal. Picture: AAP Lukas Coch

Westpac chief executive Peter King said Mr de Bruin had an extensive history in consumer banking with a strong emphasis on financial digitisation.

“Chris has extensive experience in consumer banking, including leading the global retail distribution and product portfolios, as well as several regional consumer businesses, of a multinational bank,” Mr King said.

“He also has a strong background in fintech and digital banking, which will be particularly valuable as we work to enhance our digital capability and better meet customers’ changing needs.”

Mr de Bruin joins Westpac from Deem in Dubai, a large Middle Eastern non-bank financial institution where he is currently the chief executive.

He has also previously worked at Standard Chartered Bank and held senior roles across the bank’s Middle East and Asia divisions.

At the same time Mr Lindberg offered his resignation in May, Westpac also lost its chief information officer Craig Bright to a top British bank.

Mr Bright departed the bank to take up an executive role at Barclays.

Originally published as Westpac appoints new executive



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