Talent withdrawal the new problem plaguing Catherine Livingstone's Commonwealth Bank

  • Commonwealth Bank
  • 13/10/2017
Talent withdrawal the new problem plaguing Catherine Livingstone's Commonwealth Bank
There is no suggestionthat the head of Commonwealth Bank's Kiwi operations, Barbara Chapman who announced her retirement on Monday was ever a contenderto replace her retiring boss, Ian Narev.

But it must worry investors that she is joining a steady withdrawal of talent at CBA, which is not being matched with many deposits. Dare we say, it is starting to look like a run on the bank ... or at least a run from the bank.

Rumours that former Reserve Bank governor, Glenn Stevens, turned down a board role at the bankfollowing the AUSTRAC scandal and he did not return calls and emails from CBD to say otherwise only highlights the challenges being faced by chairwomanCatherine Livingstone.

She will soon be losing three directorswith only one appointment named to fill the boardroom vacancies.

And the string of CommBank record profits, the only solace from its record run of scandals, is beingjeopardised by the unseemly volume of talent turnover at the executive level.

Narev will be out the door by July next year. The bank's chief financial officer, David Craig,stepped down at the end of June.

Wealth bossAnnabel Springwill be out the door in December, following the dismantling of the business she runs.

Veteran chief risk officerAlden Toevsretired last year but remains an adviser to the board for now.

And keep in mind that Livingstone only started as chairwoman this year, barely six months before the AUSTRAC scandal threw any carefully laid succession planning out the window.

It is a staggering level of departures for an organisation facing massive challenges, and parachuting in a cleanskin from its New Zealand bank, ASB, may have been a handy Plan B if newly appointed director and one of the hot prospects to replace Narev Rob Whitfieldis having second thoughts.

It's not like CommBank hasn't doneit before. The bank appointed former ASB chief executiveRalph Norrisin 2005 after poaching him back from Air New Zealand.

NABappointed Andrew Thorburn from the other side of the Tasman as well.

The Tabcorp/Tatts nuptials has had more twists and turns than a season of The Bachelor, so it is just as well Tabcorp bossDavid Attenboroughhas his performance measured by other parameters.

Just over 415,000 long-term performance rights vested into Tabcorp shares at no cost on Monday, significantly boosting Attenborough's stash of stock to more than 1.2 million shares worth just over $5 million at current prices.

It helps replenish his stock pot which was depleted late last year when Attenborough was forced to sell$4 million worth of shares "to fund the purchase of a family home".

Attenborough has plenty of reasons to wish the share price higher over the rest of this year as Tatts investors contemplate the approval of the proposed merger. This assumes that it survives the latest legal challengefrom competition regulator Rod Sims.

The good news is that the two parties will no longer have a nervous wait in the lead up to the Melbourne Cup, with the latest shenanigans kicking the scheme meeting vote by Tatts investors to November 30.

And, if all goes to plan, the mergerwill become effective December 14.Which means Tatts bossRobbie Cookewill be out of a job before Christmas.

Charity begins at home, so they say.

So it might be appropriate that two of our biggest property groups,Lang Walker'sWalker corporation and McDonald Jones Homes,are testing the strength of our toppling property market by auctioning off some bricks and mortar in the name of charity.

The groups are hoping to fetch$750,000 at an auction this month for the"Home Built with Love", a four-bedroom, fully furnished house in Sydney's south-west.

All proceeds from the sale go directly to Children's Cancer Institute's vital research program.
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