ANZ bank looks to Silicon Valley for new tech exec

Ron Spector will join the bank as its managing director of New Business, Emerging Technology and Ventures.

Australia and New Zealand Banking Group (ANZ) has announced the appointment of Ron Spector as managing director of New Business, Emerging Technology and Ventures.

In his new role, Spector will have responsibility for "developing potential new business opportunities and disruptive technologies", and will also be investing in "emerging growth companies" on the bank's behalf.

Spector's post will commence in January 2018, requiring him to move to Sydney from San Francisco, where he is currently a strategic innovation and venture advisor.

The new exec boasts more than 27 years' international experience in financial services, retail, and media industries, having been the CEO of Circini Innovation in San Francisco, CEO of Conferserv Inc, and senior vice president of MediaZone.

He was also a founding partner of Macquarie Technology Ventures and was US head of Technology Investment Banking at Macquarie Group. He also holds a Doctor of Jurisprudence from the University of the Pacific and a Bachelor of Arts (Hons) from the University of California.

Spector will report to group executive for digital banking Maile Carnegie who last year joined ANZ from Google, where she was the managing director for Australia and New Zealand.

"Ron will lead a group-wide function to accelerate our efforts to make our customers' lives simpler and find new, innovative opportunities to build a world-class digital bank," Carnegie said of Spector's appointment.

"We're confident this focus will open new markets for ANZ, while also improving the products and services we provide our customers."

Also reporting to Carnegie is Opher Yom-Tov, who joined ANZ as its first chief design officer in September.

Also fresh from Silicon Valley, Yom-Tov's role will see him lead a team of specialists focused on "building ANZ's human-centred design capability to deliver better experiences for customers and employees".

Speaking at Australia's Asian Future Summit 2017 in Sydney recently, Gerard Florian, ANZ group executive of technology, revealed that ANZ CEO Shayne Elliott has a strategic plan to hire the right people for the right roles at his bank.

When announcing Florian's appointment in November 2016, Elliott said technology holds a critical importance in ANZ's "strategic shift".

"Elephants can dance and I guess from our side you can be agile even if you're 180 years old, as long as you've got the right leadership," Florian said in September, quoting IBM's Louis V Gerstner.

"The biggest things for me, and one of the reasons for taking the opportunity at ANZ, was around the leadership that not only Shayne himself shows, but also the board and the rest of the [executive team] around understanding what's happening in the market, what's happening from a financial services perspective, and the need to be far more agile and nimble in this world."

In addition to Florian, Carnegie, Yom-Tov, and now Spector, Elliott's hiring spree includes a new general manager of Digital Transformation and Performance in Jennifer Scott; Emma Gray, who took on the newly created role of chief data officer for the bank in February; Kathryn van der Merwe, who also joined the bank in February as group executive of Talent and Culture; and a new chief information security officer in Lynwen Connick, who left her role as first assistant secretary information sharing and intelligence at the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet to join ANZ.

For the 2016-17 financial year, the bank reported statutory profit of AU$6.41 billion, up 12 percent year on year.

Yearly revenue from ANZ's Australian business came in at AU$9.6 billion.

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