Westpac picks new managing director

SYDNEY (Reuter) - Westpac Banking Corporation yesterday named Robert Joss, vice-chairman of Wells Fargo, as managing director to succeed Frank Conroy.

Westpac's chairman, John Uhrig, said Mr Joss, 51, would take up his post in February.

'Mr Joss meets the exacting criteria set down by the board for the task ahead,' he added.

Mr Conroy resigned in December following what analysts said was a disagreement with new 10 per cent shareholder Kerry Packer over the extent of cost-cutting at the loss-making bank.

Mr Packer and the managing director of his Consolidated Press Holdings group, Al Dunlap, later resigned as Westpac directors after less than a week on the board.

The bank had planned to name Mr Conroy's replacement by the time of the annual meeting last Tuesday, but Mr Uhrig announced at the meeting that discussions were not complete.

Mr Uhrig said Mr Joss would bring extensive experience to Westpac through his association with Wells Fargo since 1971.

'He will bring a fresh approach and provide momentum for the strong recovery strategy already in place,' he said.

Mr Joss was appointed Wells Fargo vice-chairman in 1986. Among other duties he is in charge of international trade services, private banking, consumer credit and corporate strategy.

Mr Joss said Westpac had a strong retail franchise and key core activities in institutional and offshore banking which had great potential.

'I am looking forward to taking on this exciting and challenging task, meeting with staff and working with everyone to rebuild Westpac,' he added.

'I believe it is a bank with a tremendous future and I am determined to ensure that it regains its position as a strong and profitable bank.'

Mr Joss was considered a frontrunner for the post, along with the former Bank of New Zealand chief executive Lindsay Pyne.

Speculation about Mr Joss's appointment had already stirred up some controversy in the media about the suitability of a banker with no local experience taking on the job of reviving Westpac.

The turmoil at the 175-year-old bank follows its record loss of Adollars 1.56bn (pounds 685m) for the year to 30 September 1992.

Last week's annual meeting, attended by more than 5,000 people, was adjourned until January 27 after more than eight hours of heated discussion on the bank's performance and board reappointments.

The meeting has yet to consider the reappointment of Mr Uhrig, who took over in October when the former chairman Sir Eric Neal and four other directors quit. Nine directors have left the bank in recent months.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

SThree: Graduate Recruitment Resourcer

£20000 per annum + commission: SThree: Sthree have an exciting opportunity for...

Recruitment Genius: Telesales Executive - OTE £32,000+

£18000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Telesales Executive is requir...

Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager - B2B, Corporate - City, London

£45000 - £50000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...

Neil Pavier: Commercial Analyst

£50,000 - £55,000: Neil Pavier: Are you a professionally qualified commercial ...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: The masterminds behind the scenes

The masterminds behind the election

How do you get your party leader to embrace a message and then stick to it? By employing these people
Machine Gun America: The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons

Machine Gun America

The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons
The ethics of pet food: Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?

The ethics of pet food

Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?
How Tansy Davies turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

How a composer turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

Tansy Davies makes her operatic debut with a work about the attack on the Twin Towers. Despite the topic, she says it is a life-affirming piece
11 best bedside tables

11 best bedside tables

It could be the first thing you see in the morning, so make it work for you. We find night stands, tables and cabinets to wake up to
Italy vs England player ratings: Did Andros Townsend's goal see him beat Harry Kane and Wayne Rooney to top marks?

Italy vs England player ratings

Did Townsend's goal see him beat Kane and Rooney to top marks?
Danny Higginbotham: An underdog's tale of making the most of it

An underdog's tale of making the most of it

Danny Higginbotham on being let go by Manchester United, annoying Gordon Strachan, utilising his talents to the full at Stoke and plunging into the world of analysis
Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police

Steve Bunce: Inside Boxing

Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police
No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat