Suncorp has announced a new operating model and leadership structure to drive further improvement in its core insurance and banking businesses and to accelerate the Group’s digital and data driven transformation.
Suncorp Group CEO Steve Johnston said that while the Group had made good progress against key priorities outlined in August 2019, the summer of natural disasters and the health and economic impacts of COVID-19 justified a faster-paced transformation.
“The work we have done over the past 12 months puts us in a strong position to deal with the dual challenges of increasing natural hazard costs and a global pandemic. We entered COVID-19 with a significantly de-risked business and a strong balance sheet and through this period further strengthened our funding, liquidity and capital buffers,” said Johnston.
“At the same time, COVID-19 has resulted in changes such as the faster adoption of digital channels by customers and new, more innovative and agile internal ways of working. It has changed our perspective on what is possible. We now need to seize this opportunity to speed up the execution of our priorities so we can continue to deliver for our people and customers, while growing returns and creating better outcomes for our shareholders.”
Insurance Australia and New Zealand
Following the sale of the Life Insurance business, Insurance (Australia) represents an even larger proportion of the Group’s profit and therefore requires greater focus on transforming revenues and costs.
A new role of Chief Executive Officer Insurance Product & Portfolio will lead insurance distribution channels including contact centres, digital channels and intermediated partnerships as well as customer strategy, brand and marketing, product and pricing, and innovation. Current Chief Customer & Digital Officer Lisa Harrison, who has been with Suncorp for more than 15 years, has been appointed to this role.
A new role of Chief Operating Officer — Insurance will lead all aspects of claims management and operations and some Group functions including real estate management and procurement. Paul Smeaton, who has successfully led the Suncorp New Zealand business for the past five years, and has been with Suncorp for 26 years, has been appointed to this new role.
As a result of the changes, incumbent CEO Insurance (Australia), Gary Dransfield, will leave Suncorp. Dransfield joined Suncorp in 2009 and has held various executive positions including Head of Vero New Zealand and Personal Insurance and has made a significant contribution to the Group.
“In recent years, Gary has been instrumental in leading Suncorp’s response to disasters in New Zealand and Australia including earthquakes, floods, cyclones and bushfires,” said Johnston. “Gary has made an incredible contribution to Suncorp, as well as the insurance industry, in both Australia and New Zealand. I know he will be missed by his executive colleagues as well as the many people he has worked with at Suncorp and I wish him all the best for the future.” Dransfield will remain with Suncorp until 17 July 2020.
Suncorp New Zealand CFO Jimmy Higgins will lead the Suncorp New Zealand business in an acting capacity while an internal and external search for a permanent candidate is undertaken.
In other areas of the Suncorp business
Clive van Horen has been appointed to the position of CEO Banking & Wealth. van Horen has held senior roles in retail and business banking and consulting in Australia and overseas and joins from the Commonwealth Bank of Australia, where he has worked for the last 10 years.
Changes will also be made to the People Experience function and current Chief People Experience Officer, Amanda Revis, will leave Suncorp. Ms Revis has agreed to stay with the Group into the second half of 2020 to assist with the transition to the new operating model and until a permanent appointment is made.
Jeremy Robson remains Group Chief Financial Officer and will take on additional responsibilities, including Reinsurance and Actuarial, which were formerly part of the Insurance (Australia) business.
As recently announced, Suncorp’s new Chief Information Officer, Adam Bennett, joined the Group on 1 July and will lead a new function, Technology and Transformation.