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
Life and Style
A monstrous idea? Body transplants might no longer be science fiction
Science An Italian neurosurgeon believes so - and it's not quite as implausible as it sounds, says Steve Connor
Sport
Demba Ba (right) celebrates after Besiktas win on penalties
footballThere was no happy return to the Ataturk Stadium, where the Reds famously won Champions League
Arts and Entertainment
Natural beauty: Aidan Turner stars in the new series of Poldark
arts + ents
News
Mia Freedman, editorial director of the Mamamia website, reads out a tweet she was sent.
arts + ents
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
The write stuff: masters of story-telling James Joyce, left, and Thomas Hardy
arts + ents...begging to differ, John Walsh can't even begin to number the ways
News
Image from a flyer at the CPAC event where Nigel Farage will be speaking
news
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
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

Recruitment Genius: Telesales / Marketing Executive - B2B - OTE £25,000

£17000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An opportunity to join this new...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £21000 per annum + OTE £45,000: SThree: SThree Group have been well e...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £45,000: SThree: SThree Group have been well e...

Recruitment Genius: Business Control Manager

£36000 - £44000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Encouraging more businesses to ...

Day In a Page

HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower