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St George technology chief resigns

St George technology chief resigns

Peter Clare resigns after losing the chief executive spot to internal rival

One of Gail Kelly's closest lieutenants quit St George Bank yesterday, three months after his former boss left to join a rival lender. The resignation of head of technology and operations Peter Clare comes barely a week after Paul Fegan was appointed as Ms Kelly's permanent replacement at St George.

Mr Clare is the first senior executive to depart since Mr Fegan's promotion, which will allow the new chief to stamp his authority on the senior management team.

St George said it would announce a successor to Mr Clare "in due course".

Ms Kelly, who poached Mr Clare in 2002 from her former employer, Commonwealth Bank of Australia, left St George in August to take the helm at Westpac Banking Corporation.

Mr Clare said: "I have enjoyed my six years at St George and I will greatly miss the people and culture of the organisation."

He was promoted to head of technology and operations from a strategic role in a management shake-up just seven months ago. It was a move designed to give him experience in running a big division.

Mr Clare, who was regarded as a possible future chief executive of the bank, said he had not decided what to do next, although he declined to rule out a role at Westpac.

"Paul Fegan was an excellent outcome [to replace Ms Kelly]," he told The Australian Financial Review last night.

"With the change in the CEO role it was time to review my personal position. It was time to close the chapter on St George while I consider my next step."

He is due to leave the bank at the end of December.

Mr Clare's departure is not expected to lead to a widespread restructure of the senior team by Mr Fegan. The new boss said last week he was happy with the management group, which had set out the bank's current strategy.

"I have got a high respect for the team," Mr Fegan said. "It has got great depth."

Remaining executives include chief financial officer Michael Cameron, institutional and business banking chief Greg Bartlett, Bank SA managing director Rob Chapman and Asgard head Geoff Lloyd.

Mr Fegan has had a hectic start to his new role. Apart from accepting Mr Clare's resignation, he has raised $750 million from shareholders to bolster the amount of funds that regulators require the bank to set aside as tier-one capital. He has also announced plans to raise another $400 million in hybrid capital before the end of the year.

St George came close to breaching minimum capital requirement standards when signing off its annual accounts at the end of September.

© Fairfax Business Media

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