NAB recruits IT expert to join the board

NAB has welcomed Geraldine McBride as its newest board member, bringing a wealth of knowledge about the technology sector to the company.
Written by Aimee Chanthadavong, Contributor

National Australia Bank (NAB) is ramping up its technology expertise with the appointment of software heavyweight Geraldine McBride as non-executive director.

McBride, who is due to start on March 4, 2014, will bring 26 years of tech knowledge to the company. She is the former president of global software company SAP for North America, has held executive roles with SAP in Asia-Pacific and Japan, and has worked at senior levels with Dell and IBM. She is also the founder and CEO of MyWave, a software and services company developing consumer and enterprise relationship solutions using personal cloud technologies.

In making the appointment, NAB chairman Michael Chaney said the directors were delighted that McBride accepted their invitation to join the board, given her reputation in the technology industry and her international business experience.

McBride is not the company's only fresh hire; NAB's newly appointed CIO David Boyle will begin with the bank in February. Boyle replaces Denis McGee, who departed from the company after only four months in the role. His appointment came when NAB decided it was going to revive the CIO position, following months of reshuffles within the IT department.

Expectantly, McBride's appointment will play a role in helping the bank continue its technology strategy rollout for the future.

So far, NAB has overhauled its SWIFT payments gateway, which was completed after just nine months on time and on budget. It now handles 85,000 transactions daily and an average total daily settlement value of more than AU$200 billion for NAB's Australian, Asian, UK, and US businesses.

Other consolidation projects that the bank has undertaken included merging 3,000 employees into a centralised banking operations and technology team, and starting the migration of the Wholesale Banking division's technology support infrastructure to the same platform that the Australian operation uses.

At the same time, the company invested AU$200 million in its new NextGen core banking platform last year, and launched the first products to be based on NextGen: The fully automated online application, UBank USaver Ultra; and NABTrade, an online trading platform targeted at self-managed super funds.

It appears that all of these investments have paid off so far, with the company last year announcing a cash profit of AU$5.94 billion and a net profit of AU$5.45 billion.

"We've continued to simplify and digitise our Australian franchise. Since 2010, we've rationalised approximately 50 percent of our core banking products, and automated and simplified a number of processes so that bankers can spend more time with customers," NAB chief executive Cameron Clyne said at last year's full-year profit announcement.

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