The CBA has promoted from within, selecting a young, rising executive to take over from Ian Narev and rebuild customers' trust in the under fire bank.

By Joe McDonough

Posted on January 29, 2018

The Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) has appointed Matt Comyn to take over from Ian Narev as CEO on April 9, 2018.

Comyn, 42, has nearly 20 years experience in the banking sector, having joined the Commonwealth Bank Group in 1999, and he will be the youngest chief executive of any of the big four banks.

After becoming CEO of Morgan Stanley’s wealth business in Australia for seven months in 2010, he returned to CBA and was appointed Group Executive Retail Banking Services in 2012, which now accounts for half of the Group’s profit.

“In 2017 Matt established CBA’s new approach to Financial Wellbeing, focused on giving customers more visibility and control over their finances through innovative digital tools,” a CBA media release states.

“At the same time, Matt and his team have developed support programs to help our most vulnerable customers through financial hardship, including ensuring that victims of domestic violence can access emergency funds.”

Comyn agreed to a fixed annual remuneration of $2.2 million, and will be eligible for another $2.2 million in short-term incentives plus a maximum $3.96 million in long-term incentives.

The global and local search began once Narev announced in August he would be stepping down before the end of the current financial year.

After six years in the post, Narev made the announcement after CBA had become embroiled in a money laundering scandal that resulted in a class-action suit filed against it.

Rebuilding the trust of customers

Comyn says he is focused on rebuilding CBA’s image after a tumultuous 2017.

“I am excited by the opportunity to lead the organisation into this next phase of change and transformation. In terms of outcomes, I believe we can achieve the right balance in meeting the expectations of customers, shareholders and the community, with a sharp focus on our core purpose.

“We can empower our customers to achieve financial wellbeing, and through this broaden and deepen the contribution we make to Australia’s economy. By virtue of the position CBA holds in the community we need to equally demonstrate the highest levels of integrity and operational standards to earn stronger levels of trust within the community and regulators.

“The last six months in particular have been very challenging and I am committed to working with the Board, the executive team and our wonderful people to rebuild trust in the Commonwealth Bank together.

The last six months in particular have been very challenging and I am committed to working… to rebuild trust in the Commonwealth Bank together.

“It is important that we maintain the momentum underway, upgrading and strengthening our governance, accountability and risk management, while delivering strong financial performance.

“We are in a period of significant technology and competitive change, and I look forward to ensuring we remain at the forefront of technology, innovation and a great customer experience.”

Narev, applauded the appointment, saying Comyn is “a person of integrity and openness”.

“I am delighted that Matt will lead CBA. He is a respected and trusted executive whom I know will give his all as CEO for the bank’s customers, people and shareholders,” the outgoing CEO said.

“Matt’s values run deep. He is a person of integrity and openness, and has a passion for CBA’s vision. I know he will enhance the best aspects of CBA, while making the changes needed to address the challenges which lie ahead. I am very committed to working with him to achieve a smooth transition in the leadership of the business.”