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Westpac appoints Claudia Batten as US-based digital advisor to the board and CEO

Westpac appoints Claudia Batten as US-based digital advisor to the board and CEO

This is the first such appointment by a New Zealand bank, says Westpac.

Digital entrepreneur Claudia Batten has been appointed digital advisor to the Westpac New Zealand board and CEO David McLean.

Batten will advise the Westpac board on digital development and marketing strategy, customer engagement and delivery, social media and big data.

She will also assess digital and mobile initiatives that are under review or consideration, according to a statement by Westpac.

Based in California, where she also currently holds the role of NZTE Regional Director for North America, Batten will act as a conduit into the emerging trends and applications happening in North America that might be relevant for the bank.

Westpac says this is the first such appointment by a New Zealand Bank.

Related: Providing business technology governance to boards is tipped to be one of the most sought after skills in the digital economy.

In 2014, Batten was the youngest winner of the KEA World Class New Zealand Award and last year was made a Blake Leader by the Sir Peter Blake Trust.

After graduating from Victoria University, she moved to New York where she helped co-found two ground breaking businesses: Massive Inc and Victor & Spoils. Massive Inc developed pioneering software to download advertising into online video games and was sold to Microsoft while Victor & Spoils was the first advertising agency built on the principles of crowdsourcing and sold to Havas Worldwide.

With financial services a target sector for digital disruption Batten sees her appointment as an important one for the bank.

“The way customers’ bank in five years’ time will be very different to today. Creating highly personalised, engaging and innovative experiences is part of the new ‘business as usual’,” says Batten, in a statement.

It’s a matter of understanding the evolving consumer behaviour and needs and being prepared, and able, to adapt and change. Part of my role is to help Westpac do that. I’m really excited about the opportunity to be at the forefront of change with Westpac.”

The customer uptake of new technology has firmly placed power in the hands of the consumer and businesses had to adapt... To remain relevant to our customers we need to meet their new and evolving expectations and needs.

Westpac NZ CEO David McLean

Read more: Westpac CIO Dawie Olivier on 'The killer app for today’s ICT teams'

The role extends to working with CEO David McLean and the executive team to assist with the application of digital developments across the bank, anticipating customer-driven trends and hosting digital workshops.

McLean says the customer uptake of new technology has firmly placed power in the hands of the consumer and businesses had to adapt.

“Banking is not immune to this change and to remain relevant to our customers we need to meet their new and evolving expectations and needs,” he says.

Batten’s appointment will help us anticipate and identify ways to deliver world class digital services, he adds. “It also ensures the board and management have access to external views and trusted advice in this rapidly changing market.”

“She has built successful digital businesses, understands financial services and is well connected with some of the people and businesses in Silicon Valley and the wider US that are shaping the future.”

Strong appetite emerging for adding tech-savvy directors to established company boards: Institute of Directors

Send news tips and comments to divina_paredes@idg.co.nz

Follow Divina Paredes on Twitter: @divinap

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