Watson appointed ANZ New Zealand CEO

Antonia Watson has been appointed the permanent chief executive of ANZ New Zealand, replacing David Hisco, who departed amid an expenses scandal in June.

Wednesday, December 18th 2019, 9:58AM

Watson will take the helm of the nation's biggest lender less than six months after David Hisco left the bank, after a review into his personal expenses. 

Watson became acting CEO in May as Hisco left under a cloud, with question marks over the the bank's internal processes and controls. The bank was recently censured by the Reserve Bank over capital modelling failings and for failing to report a sale of a property to Hisco's wife.

She becomes the first Kiwi woman to lead the bank, and will hope to bring some stability to the major lender which has been beset by a series of scandals in recent years.

Watson joined ANZ in 2009 as financial controller, before becoming chief financial officer in 2012. Prior to taking on the acting CEO role, she was managing director for retail and business banking.

Sir John Key, ANZ New Zealand chairman, said Watson was "the outstanding applicant" for the role.

“Antonia is a warm, empathetic and inclusive leader who is also methodical in her thinking and forensic in her analysis,” Sir John said. “Most importantly she is authentic – what you see is her and she’ll be upfront and honest with you.”

Key said the banking sector faced challenges including "significantly increased capital, more regulation and regulatory oversight, higher customer and public expectations of financial institutions and increasing competition from new entrants to the industry".

“The board is confident Antonia has all the skills to help ANZ NZ navigate this new environment and ensure the bank flourishes,” Key added.

Watson grew up in Auckland and graduated from Otago University with a Bachelor of Commerce degree with honours. A qualified accountant, she has previously worked for KPMG in New Zealand and Morgan Stanley in London, Sydney and Budapest.

ANZ NZ will commence a process shortly to recruit a new managing director for retail and business banking, the bank said. Ben Kelleher will continue as acting managing director for retail and business banking in the near term.


Tags: ANZ

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