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Westpac recruits troops for integration

Westpac recruits troops for integration

Commonwealth Bank executives have been poached.

Westpac Banking Corporation is assembling a team of senior information technology executives to drive integration and core banking system

projects following the company's $16 billion acquisition of St George

Bank.

Recruitment in the past five months has brought in former Commonwealth

Bank of Australia IT executives, including the national roll-out

manager for CBA's successful, $250 million CommSee customer

relationship management program.

The recruitment of former CommSee project manager Jason Millett was

led by Westpac products and operations boss Peter Clare, himself a

former St George and CBA employee. Mr Millett has been posted in the

products division.

Westpac also confirmed last week that St George technology boss Paul

Newham had joined former boss Mr Clare's team as chief operating

officer for products and operations.

Recently anointed Westpac technology head Bob McKinnon, meanwhile, is

reshaping the bank's IT team with new recruits, including two former

CBA executives, one of whom also has a stint with Capgemini on his

resume.

Mr McKinnon, an ex-CBA CIO, has been joined by recently departed CBA

chief information security officer Sarv Girn, who has taken on the

mantle of chief technology officer.

Another former Capgemini and CBA exec, Paul Grundy, has been hired to

work on Westpac's transformation team under integration boss Brad

Cooper.

A spokeswoman for Westpac confirmed the hires. "In recent months we

have been increasing our IT capability ahead of the merger with St

George," she said.

"[The appointments] bring valuable integration experience and will

boost Westpac's capability."

The hires accompany a publicly announced restructure of the bank's

computing and communications department that has stripped it of

responsibility for operations, which are now under Mr Clare's control.

The restructure is part of a push by Westpac chief executive Gail

Kelly to improve information systems at the bank. The former St George

CEO and senior CBA executive has openly complained about the quality

of Westpac's IT.

"[The systems] haven't been all they need to be and they have let us

down from time to time," Ms Kelly said at the announcement of the

bank's full-year results this month.

"We recognise that they clearly need work to enhance their reliability."

The recruitment drive has delivered an important boost to the bank's

IT capabilities ahead of the complex integration of Westpac's systems

with those of St George, as well as ahead of the replacement of its

core banking systems.

While Westpac is yet to confirm the details of its IT systems

integration plan, it is understood to be considering replacing its

core banking system at the same time as it merges its operations with

those of St George.

It's a strategy that some analysts have warned will increase the risks

of both projects.

Analysts have also estimated that the Westpac-St George technology

integration will cost as much as $336 million.

Fairfax Business Media

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