Commonwealth Bank CIO Michael Harte calls it quits

After eight years as CIO of Commonwealth Bank of Australia, Michael Harte is packing his bags and moving to London for a role with Barclays Bank.
Written by Aimee Chanthadavong, Contributor

Commonwealth Bank of Australia's (CBA) chief information officer, Michael Harte, has called it quits after eight years to take up the role of chief operations and technology officer at Barclays Bank in London.

Harte, who will finish up mid-year, has been responsible for making some notable changes to the company's IT infrastructure, including delivering the bank's core banking modernisation project, on which 1,500 people for nearly six years have been working to replace the group's legacy banking systems.

Some project successes that Harte has been responsible for include the introduction of the bank's real-time settlement and banking, mobile banking app Kaching, and its point-of-sale platform Pi. On Wednesday, CBA announced the launch of Australia's first cardless ATM cash withdrawal service.

Harte has also been an advocate believer in cloud adoption. Under his leadership, CBA has managed to halve costs across certain areas after making a partial movement to the cloud. In November 2012, Harte had challenged local businesses to ditch the "garbage" excuses they were being fed and move into the cloud.

"We've saved tens of millions of dollars in the small initiatives that we've done, and we're looking forward to saving hundreds of millions of dollars," he said at the time. "We've halved storage costs, we've halved most of our app testing and app development costs.

"As a general rule of thumb, we're looking for 40 percent improvement in pricing across all the things that we consume as a service."

Commonwealth Bank CEO Ian Narev commended Harte for his contribution to the company.

"We really appreciate Michael's contribution to our IT strategy which has built a strong team and a pipeline of value-creating technology solutions which will benefit our customers and businesses for years to come," he said.

"During the past eight years Michael has been a valued and energetic member of the group's executive committee. On behalf of the entire group, we wish Michael all the very best as he pursues the next phase of his career."

Harte's replacement, which is likely to be an internal candidate, will be announced in June, Narev said.

CBA joins the growing line of Australian banks that have seen the recent departures of their CIOs: NAB's Denis McGee left the company last August, and ANZ's Anne Weatherston announced her resignation last month.

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