​Westpac Group makes executive changes as COO retires

Westpac Group chief operating officer John Arthur has announced his retirement, which will see the company distribute his existing responsibilities to others on the executive board.
Written by Aimee Chanthadavong, Contributor

Westpac Group has made some slight adjustments to the responsibility of its executive team in light of chief operating officer John Arthur announcing his retirement from the company after eight years with the firm.

Westpac Group CEO Brian Hartzer said Arthur was appointed to the COO role in 2011 where under his portfolio he was responsible for group technology. Some of the more specific responsibilities that he currently has includes contact centres, procurement, analytics, banking operations, enterprise investments, property, compliance, legal, and secretariat services.

"Under John's leadership we have made significant progress in delivering our service revolution strategy. John has reshaped how our operations and support teams help our customer facing employees, in turn delivering an even better customer experience," Hartzer said.

Hartzer also announced following Arthur's retirement that Gary Thursby's role as group executive, strategy, transformation and business services will be expanded to include the organisation's strategy and transformation portfolios; while consumer bank chief executive George Frazis will take responsibility for the group's contact centres. The new expanded roles will come into effect on October 1, 2016.

In May, the company reported it spent AU$914 million on technology during the half year, a 12 percent lift year on year in technology expenses, which was reflective of ongoing investment programs that saw the delivery of a number of technology developments. Some of the technology investments included strengthening its cybersecurity, upgrading 22 branches, and launching its Wonder platform.

Westpac also achieved a statutory net profit of AU$3.7 billion, up 3 percent over the prior corresponding period for the six months.

Last month, rival National Australia Bank announced it was on the hunt for a new chief technology and operations officer, appointing Bob Melrose to the position in the interim.

Other changes the bank made included renaming business banking to business and private banking, which will focus on small to medium enterprises, and will be led by Angela Mentis as chief customer officer; changing personal banking to consumer banking and wealth management, which will be headed up by Andrew Hagger as the department's chief customer officer; and relabelling products and markets as customer products and services that will now include NAB Lab/Ventures, digital, strategy, and banking and wealth product.

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