Westpac Group appoints first chief customer officer

Banking group hires former customer chief from Walt Disney Parks and Resorts

Westpac has appointed its first chief customer officer, hiring a former Disney executive from the US as part of a series of executive changes.

Tom Boyles was most recently the senior VP for global customer relationships and travel operations at Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, where he has spearheaded the group’s customer-first initiatives. These included the introduction of ‘magicband’ wristbands, a new data-driven system that records all interactions customers have on-site while allowing them to access everything from hotel rooms to rides and VIP seating.

Prior to joining Disney in 2000, Boyles was the senior VP at US-based bank, National City Corporation, overseeing strategy and marketing. He also formerly oversaw Internet banking for retail bank, Integra Direct.

Westpac Group CEO, Brian Hartzner, said Boyles' global marketing experience, along with use of innovative technology, was key to his appointment.

“Disney is one of the world’s most love brands, and its ‘next generation experience’ program has set a new benchmark for how great service can be delivered in a digitally enabled world,” he said.

“Westpac’s ambition is to be one of the world’s great services companies, and having someone of Tom’s experience and passion for customers on our team will be enormously helpful in improving service and building customer loyalty in both the physical and digital worlds.”

Boyles commences the role in August.

The latest appointment comes off the back of a recent restructure of the business which sees the ASX-listed banking group shift into two divisions: Consumer Bank, which will be responsible for all consumer banking products offered by Westpac, St George, BankSA, Bank of Melbourne and RAMS brands; and Commercial and Business Bank, which will cover SME, commercial and agri-business customers as well as asset and equipment finance.

Westpac claims the new structure will accelerate its customer-focused strategy while retaining brand identity through dedicated product, marketing and digital capabilities. The Consumer Bank is being led by George Frazis, who has been group executive of St George since 2012. That role no longer exists.

Commercial and Business Bank, meanwhile, becomes the responsibility of Westpac’s former chief product officer, David Lindberg. In his previous role, Lindberg oversaw retail and business products and digital banking offerings across all brands and oversaw the simplification of products and services as well as the rollout of Westpac Live.

In a statement, Westpac said each division will be responsible for improving end-to-end service experience across their customer segments, and will have dedicated product, marketing and digital capabilities.

According to Hartzer, who took up the reins in February, the simpler structure will enable the organisation to better align to customer segments and improve accountability while still maintaining each brand’s identity.

“We recently set an ambition to be one of the world’s great service companies, and this new structure will accelerate our progress towards this goal,” Hartzer said in a statement dated 10 june. “By appointing a single executive for each major segment, the new structure clarifies accountability and allows us to create simpler, consistent, end-to-end processes, such as creating one way to open a transaction account or approve a mortgage. This will help to deliver efficiencies.

“At the same time, the new structure enables us to drive product and digital innovation specific to the needs of our customer segments and brands.”

Specifically, each brand under the Consumer Bank will be supported by its own product and marketing and digital resources and has its own general manager, who will report directly to Frazis.

The Commercial and Business Bank unites specialised business bankers from each brand, as well as responsibility for business products, marketing and digital, to improve Westpac’s focus on this growing customer community, the company stated. The BT Financial Group retains its own CEO, Brad Cooper, reporting directly to the CEO.

However, the restructure has seen Westpac’s group executive of Westpac Retail and Business Banking, Jason Yetton, leave the company. Hartzer removed the Australian Financial Services division, which encompassed Retail and Business Banking, St George, BT Financial and Banking Products and Risk Management, in February, putting those product, marketing and analytics functions under the group’s COO.

The restructure takes effect immediately but full-year results to 30 September will still be reported under the former operational structure.

More on Westpac’s customer engagement strategy

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