Westpac New Zealand appoints a new CEO

  • By Zilla Efrat

Catherine McGrath has returned to her roots. She’s moving back to New Zealand to take over the helm of Westpac New Zealand in November.

She replaces David McLean who retired in June.

McGrath’s banking career started at the Bank of New Zealand. Since then, she has driven large-scale transformations at some of the world’s best-known banks.

She was most recently head of channels for Barclays Group in London where she oversaw a division of 16,000 people, with accountability for all channels, including branches and digital. She also led the Open Banking implementation across Barclays Group and the development of its community banking proposition.

Before joining Barclays, McGrath held senior positions across ASB Bank New Zealand from 2010 to 2012.

She also spent four years with Lloyds TSB Bank, where she held two senior roles, one responsible for the transaction banking business and as divisional Chief Risk Officer.

Between 2002 and 2005, McGrath was with the Prudential Group. Her last role was to lead a new 50:50 joint venture between Prudential and Discovery Holdings, a South African health insurer, successfully building and launching a new health insurance business.

“Westpac New Zealand is a strong business that has been serving New Zealanders for 160 years. In our recent portfolio review of the business, we identified ways to improve service for customers, including improving our digital capabilities,” says Westpac Group CEO Peter King, noting that McGrath has considerable management expertise in this area.

McGrath has a Bachelor of Law and a Bachelor of Commerce, Accounting and Business Administration, from Canterbury University, New Zealand. She was admitted to the New Zealand Bar in 1994.

McGrath will commence as CEO Westpac New Zealand on 15 November 2021, subject to regulatory approvals in Australia and New Zealand. Simon Power will continue to act in the role in the interim, after which time he will return to his role as general manager, Institutional & Business Banking.