Westpac is moving several of its businesses, including its life insurance and wealth platforms, into a new specialist business division. It will also undertake a strategic review on the best options for these businesses including “…considering whether they would ultimately be more successful under different ownership”.
In announcing the organisation’s 2020 half year result, Westpac Group CEO, Peter King, says in a media release that in determining immediate priorities “…it was clear that Westpac needed to simplify and focus on its Australian and New Zealand banking businesses”.
“We have several businesses where we don’t have sufficient scale or where the returns are insufficient for the risk. These include wealth platforms, superannuation and retirement products, investments, general and life insurance and auto finance.”
The statement says these businesses will be moved into a new Specialist Businesses division headed by Jason Yetton who has been appointed Chief Executive, Specialist Businesses.
“These are good businesses with strong franchises and will benefit from being in their own division under the leadership of Jason who will bring his considerable energy and skills to the role.
“Over the coming months we will conduct a detailed strategic review on the best options for these businesses. This will include considering whether they would ultimately be more successful under different ownership,” King says.
He notes the changes are “… a significant step to reducing the complexity of our portfolio and will allow the Group Executives to focus on improving performance in our Australian and New Zealand banking businesses”.
He says Yetton is a proven executive who held senior positions at Westpac for many years, including Group Executive, Westpac Retail & Business Banking and General Manager, BT Customer Solutions, and was most recently an executive at CBA.
King says the Westpac Pacific business will also be managed in this division to simplify the institutional bank portfolio.