John Pearce to head Colonial First State Investments

31 December 2002

Colonial First State announced today that their General Manager, Investments, John Pearce will assume the role of Chief Operating Officer effective immediately following the decision of current CEO, Chris Cuffe to tender his resignation effective July, 2003. Mr Pearce will become CEO, Colonial First State following Mr Cuffe’s departure.

Mr Pearce joined Colonial First State in the position of General Manager, Investments following the Commonwealth Bank’s acquisition of Colonial Limited in May 2000, where he had extensive industry & management experience running the Treasury division of Colonial State Bank.

In his role of General Manager, Investments Mr Pearce has had overall responsibility for management of the investment function of the business. Mr Pearce has also held a joint acting CEO role overseeing the Finance, Legal and Compliance, Administration Services and Business Systems, IT and Human Resources Development areas during Mr Cuffe’s recent extended leave.

Mr Cuffe is confident he will be leaving Colonial First State in the hands of a very capable CEO and senior management team as proven during his recent extended leave.

"Colonial First State is led by an outstanding senior management team and John Pearce is an excellent manager of the business. His ability to make decisions, negotiate and lead a team of people is very impressive. This combination will ensure Colonial First State continues to set new benchmarks," Mr Cuffe said.

Mr Cuffe joined the investment arm of the State Bank of NSW, First State Fund Managers in 1988 and assumed the role of CEO in 1990. He has spent the last 12 years working with his management team to grow Colonial First State from a boutique investment house to one of Australia’s leading fund managers.

Commonwealth Bank acting Group Executive Investment and Insurance Services, Stuart Grimshaw said Mr Cuffe’s contribution to the growth and reputation of Colonial First State is impressive.

"Chris’s contribution to the Colonial First State business has been significant. I wish him well in his future endeavours."

Mr Grimshaw added the appointment of John Pearce to the role of CEO would ensure the ongoing stability and strength of the Colonial First State business.

"John Pearce is well qualified to fill the role of CEO, Colonial First State. In his role as General Manager, Investments and acting joint CEO during Chris’s leave of absence, John has proved his capability to be successor to the role of CEO, Colonial First State," Mr Grimshaw said.