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King locks in Westpac consumer chief

05:56pm September 21 2020

Chris de Bruin has been named chief executive of Westpac's consumer division. (Image: LinkedIn)

Westpac chief executive Peter King has firmed up his executive team with the appointment of Chris de Bruin as chief executive of the bank’s consumer division.

Mr de Bruin will join the bank from Dubai where he has spent almost three years as chief executive of one of the largest non-bank financial institutions in the Middle East, Deem, following a year in Toronto as president of Canadian fintech Zafin. He previously spent more than a decade with large multinational Standard Chartered Bank across Asia and the Middle East including as global head of retail products and digital banking.

Mr King said Mr de Bruin’s extensive global financial services experience – across both large multinationals and challenger banks – and strong digital background, would be valuable as the bank works to grow its customer base and support customers’ increasing shift towards digital channels. Deem has around 230,000 customers and a loan book of around $750 million.

“Chris has extensive experience in consumer banking, including leading the global retail distribution and product portfolios, as well as several regional consumer businesses, of a multinational bank,” Mr King said.

“He also has a strong background in fintech and digital banking, which will be particularly valuable as we work to enhance our digital capability and better meet customers’ changing needs.”

The appointment means Mr King has filled all the executive team roles he'd been recruiting in what's been a busy period since his confirmation as CEO in April. In July, he named seasoned executive Scott Collary as chief operating officer, experienced investment banker Anthony Miller as chief of Westpac’s institutional bank and KPMG partner Michael Rowland as CFO. He previously appointed Jason Yetton as chief of a new Specialist Businesses Division and Les Vance as Group Executive, Financial Crime, Compliance and Conduct.

Prior to his 13 year career at Standard Chartered, Mr de Bruin was part of the founding team at 20twenty Financial Services where he was Chief Strategist, and before that spent five years with McKinsey & Company.

“Today we announced that I will be leaving Deem. It was a bitter-sweet moment. I am extraordinarily proud of what we have achieved at Deem over the last few years,” he said in a Linkedin post. “I am excited for the new challenges ahead.”

Mr de Bruin will take over the reins from Richard Burton who has been leading the bank’s biggest division in an acting capacity since former chief executive David Lindberg’s decision earlier in the year to take up a role with the Royal Bank of Scotland. Mr Burton will remain acting chief executive until Mr de Bruin commences in the role in early 2021, subject to regulatory approvals.

Emma Foster is a freelance writer. Previously, she led Westpac Wire and was a key contributor until December 2022. Prior to joining Westpac in 2013, she spent almost 20 years in corporate affairs and investor relations, primarily in large financial services and consultancy firms, in Australia, UK and Europe. She is also a photographer and podcaster.

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