Commonwealth Bank loses key tech exec

Bank to ensure departure will not derail systems overhaul.
  • Paul Smith (Unknown Publication)
  • 17 November, 2009 22:00

The most senior technology executive at Commonwealth Bank-owned Bankwest, chief information officer Tony Clasquin, has resigned and will leave at the end of the year. The bank will lose an experienced technology leader who has been in a key role as it seeks to achieve $340 million of operational savings following CBA's $2.1 billion acquisition of Bankwest from HBOS late last year.

In an email sent to friends and colleagues, Mr Clasquin said he had been "on the go" for about 30 years and intended to take a year-long sabbatical in Perth.

He said he would then move back to Sydney in 2011 to take up an, as yet undecided, new role.

CBA confirmed Mr Clasquin's departure but refused to comment further but will be keen to ensure the departure does not derail the massive program of technology work required to successfully integrate Bankwest's systems following the acquisition.

In August, CBA put a $150 million increase in the cost of the overhaul of its core banking systems down to the need to add Bankwest and its subsidiary, ASB, to the program.

For the year ended June 30, 2009, CBA spent $60 million on technology to help the integration of Bankwest. It has forecast spending a further $103 million from 2009 to 2012.

CBA said it had started restructuring and had initiated a review of the major contracts and licences to identify savings as a result of the additional buying power of the combined banks, notably for volume software licensing arrangements.

The institution had been able to identify more operational savings in the Bankwest acquisition and these were now expected to be $340 million, versus the $220 million first anticipated.

It is not the first time Mr Clasquin has walked away from CBA's sprawling technology setup. He was chief information officer at wealth management firm Colonial First State when it was acquired by CBA in 2000.

He initially stayed with the bank becoming CIO of insurance and investment services in 2005 but left to join Bankwest in 2007 to take control of a large department himself.

His departure will also have ramifications for the local operations of Lloyds International, which is working with Mr Clasquin's Bankwest team to move off the IT systems they used to share as fellow HBOS Australia operations.

Lloyds International still relies on infrastructure, services and processes for its general ledger and credit risk systems that it shares with Bankwest. Fairfax Business Media