Peter King and Brian Hartzer
The Market Online - At The Bell

Join our daily newsletter At The Bell to receive exclusive market insights

  • Westpac (ASX:WBC) shares are up after the Board announced CEO and Managing Director Brian Hartzer will step down
  • It comes in the wake of an AUSTRAC investigation into an alleged 23 million breaches of anti-money laundering and counter-terror finance law by the bank
  • The outgoing CEO will be paid $2.69 million over the next twelve months while serving his notice period
  • Chief Financial Officer, Peter King, will fill the position until the next CEO is found
  • Director, Ewen Crouch will not seek re-election at the next AGM, and company Chairman Lindsey Maxsted will bring forward his retirement to next year
  • Westpac shares are up 1.8 per cent after the announcement, trading for $24.88 each

Westpac shares are up after a Board shuffle and the departure of Brian Hartzer from his role as CEO and Managing Director.

The news follows the launch of investigation by AUSTRAC (Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre) into the bank, alleging it breached anti-money laundering and counter-terror finance laws on 23 million occasions between 2013 and 2018.

Among the most concerning breaches is the failure to monitor transactions to the Philippines made by a convicted sex offender.

Mr Hertzer said the company had slipped below community standards.

“As CEO I accept that I am ultimately accountable for everything that happens at the Bank. And it is clear that we have fallen well short of what the community expects of us, and we expect of ourselves,” he said.

The current Chief Financial Officer (CFO), Peter King, will fill the position of CEO until a long-term replacement is found.

Stepping in as acting CFO will be Gary Thursby, the current Chief Operating Officer.

Furthermore, Director Ewen Crouch will not seek reelection at the upcoming AGM on December 12.

In addition, Chairman Lindsey Maxsted will bring forward his retirement to next year.

Mr Hartzer will leave the bank on Monday December 2, but will be paid $2.69 million over the next twelve months while serving his notice period. He will not, however, be eligible for unvested short and long term bonuses or any future bonuses.

Peter King said he will not shy away from issues under investigation by AUSTRAC as he takes on the role of CEO.

“I am committed to helping address the current issues and restore the reputation of the bank,” he said.

Westpac shares are up 1.8 per cent after the announcement, trading for $24.88 each at 12:58 pm AEDT.

WBC by the numbers
More From The Market Online
The Market Online Video

Market Close: ASX200 falls, Woolworths slumps on CEO exit, Domino’s & WiseTech surge

The ASX200 closed down about three-quarters of a per cent. The staples sector took the biggest…
The Market Online Video

Market Update: Coles & Woolworths lead staples tumble as ASX200 slides

The ASX200 is down about point three-quarters of a per cent. The sectors are fairly split…

ASX uranium watch: 5 junior stocks with announcements out today

Anyone who reads my articles will know I've been predicting for a while we're going to…

Income Asset Management Group (ASX:IAM) awarded $160 million mandate for NFP bond holdings

Income Asset Management Group (ASX:IAM) has landed a mandate to provide execution services for $160 million…