​Commonwealth Bank loses chief financial officer to Cayman Islands blockchain firm

Commonwealth Bank CFO Rob Jesudason will leave the country's largest bank to lead Block.one as group president and chief operating officer.
Written by Asha Barbaschow, Contributor

The Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) will be losing its group executive of financial services and chief financial officer Rob Jesudason after he announced he'd be joining blockchain-focused Block.one.

Block.one, headed out of the Cayman Islands, develops open-source technology solutions including the EOSIO blockchain software. It also sells the EOS token.

Joining the firm as its group president and chief operating officer, Jesudason will be a member of Block.one's board of directors and will be responsible for "scaling the group's global operations", Block.one said in a statement on Monday.

Jesudason resigned from CBA on Monday morning, announcing he'd be joining Block.one following his notice period.

As CBA's group executive, financial services and chief financial officer, Jesudason was responsible for overseeing group finance, audit, treasury, security, property, and investor relations.

"Rob has a proven track record of success in global financial services, where he has been involved in industry innovation and facilitated regulatory advancement enabling the adoption of new technologies," Block.one CEO Brendan Blumer said of Jesudason's appointment.

"His alignment with our organisational priorities of creating compliant, high performance blockchain solutions is an ideal fit for Block.one, and is an exciting conclusion to our thorough search for the right individual."

Jesudason is convinced blockchain will have a "transformative" impact on most industries in the coming years, expecting the technology to redefine operating models by streamlining businesses, while also reducing cost and risk.

"The market's strong response to Block.one's approach has resulted in it being one of the fastest-growing organisations in the world, and this will inform our operational growth strategies going forward," he explained.

Jesudason has been at CBA for six and a half years, having previously held the positions of Head of Strategy and Group Executive, International Financial Services (IFS).

In the IFS role, he managed the group's international growth in digital banking, retail and commercial banking and insurance in China, India, Indonesia, Vietnam, and South Africa.

He also worked at Credit Suisse as Head of Global Emerging Markets in the financial institutions Group and held positions at JPMorgan, Barclays, GE Capital, and McKinsey & Company.

The bank has appointed Alan Docherty as acting chief financial officer to fill Jesudason's position.

Docherty has been CBA's chief financial officer of institutional banking and markets and, since joining the bank in 2003, has held senior finance roles in Group Finance, Group Treasury, and the Business and Private Bank.

Throughout Australia's Banking Royal Commission, CBA found itself in hot water on a number of issues, with one being the practice of the bank overcharging customers for financial advice they did not receive.

It was revealed the bank was made aware in 2012 by Deloitte that it did not have the systems and monitoring in place to ensure clients were getting financial services they had paid for; clients were habitually charged services that were not provided; and there were ad hoc systems in place to store data that could only be checked manually.

As also reported by the ABC, CBA, alongside Westpac, the National Australia Bank, ANZ bank, and AMP, had taken more than AU$220 million from clients for services they never intended to provide.

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC), the country's corporate regulator, came under fire during the Royal Commission for not appropriately punishing the banks. ASIC let off CBA with an enforceable undertaking for overcharging clients AU$118 million, with the commission handing down the undertaking days before the Royal Commission heard of the bank's practices.

The commission heard too that advisers at a CBA financial planning business continued to charge fees to customers they knew were deceased.

The bank also admitted earlier this month it was unsure of where data on 19.8 million customers has gone, after it was revealed that magnetic tapes comprising information used to print account statements may not have been properly disposed of.

CBA is currently facing the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (Austrac) after it initiated civil penalty proceedings in August alleging that the bank had "serious and systemic non-compliance" with the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Act 2006.

Austrac detailed 53,700 alleged breaches of the Act, which included failing to hand 53,506 threshold transaction reports (TTRs) for cash transactions over AU$10,000 to Austrac through intelligent deposit machines (IDMs) for almost three years between November 2012 and September 2015.

The bank in December admitted that disparate datasets contributed to a contravention of the Act.

CBA faces a maximum penalty of AU$18 million for each of the contraventions if found guilty; however, the bank in February said it has provided for a civil penalty of AU$375 million.


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