CFS on hunt for new customer chief following Stevenson's departure

Former marketing leader and group executive of customer, Todd Stevenson, exits the wealth management business after a 12-year stint

Leaving at the top of his game to determine the next executive leadership challenge has led Colonial First State’s group executive of customer, Todd Stevenson, to exit the financial services group.

Stevenson told CMO spending the last 24 years working without an extended break and through some of the most significant periods of cultural change and transformation in financial services had prompted his decision.

“Some of the best advice I've ever received is to leave while on top, so after 12 years at CFS and with the business in a really strong position for its next phase, now felt like the right time for me to step away,” Stevenson said.

Stevenson joined CFS initially as head of marketing for advisers, then became head of customer marketing for nearly four years. A stint as general manager of wealth marketing at Commonwealth Bank then led to general manager of customer and marketing for Colonial First State business in 2018. Stevenson was promoted to chief customer officer and became group executive of the customer office as CommBank announced its plans to divest a 55 per cent stake in the financial services business to KRR private equity, a deal that completed in November 2021. The sale came after the Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry in 2019.

Credit: Todd Stevenson

Among the many milestones for Stevenson over his tenure include the latest CFS brand platform and campaign, ‘Unleash your second half’.

“The goal was to reframe retirement as a stage of life that is really exciting, full of purpose and that people should look forward to,” he explained. “It's such a strong platform that will set CFS apart as it's one of those much to rare marketing moments that combines clear customer insight and understanding of a shifting external landscape, business strategy and beautifully executed creative.

“Being part of the CSF leadership team that has helped the business and its people navigate through an unprecedented period of change over the last seven years has been another great experience and learning opportunity.”

The immediate priority for Stevenson is spending time with his partner, Hayley, and three kids, two of whom were born during the pandemic. This will include time travelling overseas as a family.

“After that, I'll be looking at my next executive role where I can make a significant contribution to a business from a leadership, strategy and culture perspective,” he said.

As to the learnings he expects to bring with him to future executive roles, Stevenson said the first is to never stop learning.

“The other is that your customers, the business you are part of the teams and the people you work with are all individual people, so relationships, connections and culture really, really matter,” he said. “So actively invest time into understanding each and every one of them as an individual person and spend time thinking about the type of leader you want to be.

“And ask for help when you need it. It's a sign of being comfortable with who you are and is a strength rather than weakness.”

A CFS spokesperson confirmed Stevenson's departure and said the team wished him all the best for his future. A search process is now underway to replace the role.

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