Peter King appointed Westpac CEO

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 Westpac Chairman Mr John McFarlane has announced the appointment of Mr Peter King as Chief Executive Officer.

Mr McFarlane said, in moments of global stress and uncertainty, management stability and strength are vital.

“I believe we need a Chief Executive in place now, not later, and with full, rather than acting authority. On my recommendation, the Board has appointed Peter King as CEO. Peter has agreed to do this for two years.

“I have built a strong relationship with Peter since we first met. He understands the bank, its business and its finances, and has the confidence of the management team, as well as my own and that of the Board.

“He and I are also completely aligned on what needs to be done. He is the right person to take the company forward at the present time, and now has the full authority to make change and to see it through,” Mr McFarlane said.

Peter King said it was a great honour to be appointed CEO of Westpac where he has worked for the past 25 years.

“We are focused on responding to the COVID-19 outbreak and supporting our customers and protecting our people. We have a critical role to play alongside Government and regulators in supporting Australians and New Zealanders and our countries’ financial systems,” Mr King said.

“I am incredibly proud of how our people are responding to this crisis with genuine care, compassion and support for each other and for our customers.

“Across our organisation, we are working hard to ensure we remain open for business so we can continue to help customers with their financial situation.

“We must also look to the future for the best way for Westpac to meet the challenges ahead. We will need to be fast, agile and responsive to customer and community needs.

“My medium-term priorities remain to drive performance through our lines of business and sharper accountability, simplify the business through digital transformation, and lift our service culture and risk management capability,” Mr King said.

Mr McFarlane said the Board and CEO had decided CEO and Group Executive annual Short-Term Variable Rewards for 2020 will be cancelled, in recognition of collective accountability for the financial crime outcomes in Westpac’s business which led to the action brought by AUSTRAC.

Mr McFarlane said these are difficult times for our country and our company, with the impact of COVID-19 still unfolding and the flow-on effect to the global economy.

“As a bank, we have an important role to play in the community at this critical time. We are responding appropriately and the decisions we are making now, and over coming weeks and months, will make a significant difference going forward.

“However, given the impact of the Coronavirus on the economy and the level of uncertainty, while it is difficult to make a reasonable assessment of its potential impact at the moment, we expect to see a rise in our credit provisioning this year and probably beyond, which will be accelerated by recently implemented accounting standards. We are currently working through this and will update shareholders in due course,” he said.

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