Westpac Exiting New Zealand/Kiwi CEO to retire

  • By Elizabeth Fry

Westpac is stepping up its to efforts to depart the New Zealand market and expects a demerger to take place during this half of the year. At a briefing on Monday, Westpac Group chief executive Peter King said; “The catalyst is the changing nature of banking - increasingly it is a local game. 

“Right now, we are focussed on a demerger,” he said adding that Westpac would consider other options if they benefited shareholders. 

“But we haven’t seen any {other options} yet.” 

The big four Australian banks have been advised by New Zealand’s central bank that they should hold an extra $NZ20 billion in regulatory capital, to be built up over the next five years.  

King also announced that the head of the NZ operation, David McLean has retired from his position after more than 20 years with the bank. McLean joined the bank in 1999 and held several senior roles across retail and institutional banking before being appointed chief executive in February 2015. 

“David has been with Westpac for more than two decades and has held several senior roles in that time. He has made a significant contribution to the company, including playing a pivotal role in driving growth in the New Zealand business while lifting the bank’s support for New Zealanders,” said  

“David has led the bank through the challenges of COVID-19, with a sharp focus on helping customers adapt and supporting New Zealand through the recovery. I wish David all the best for his retirement.” 

McLean will remain in the role until June 25 after which time Simon Power, general manager of institutional & business banking will act as chief executive while a global search is completed.