Extract from Annual Profit Result Media Conference
21 August 2003
A number of articles published in this morning’s press cover comments made by the CEO of the Commonwealth Bank in response to a question on the contractual payment to its former employee, Chris Cuffe during yesterday’s media conference.
An extract of the question and answer follows:
QUESTION: Six months ago you got the ball rolling on what was probably one of the biggest scandals this year which was the Chris Cuffe payout. That seems to have been resolved now.
MR MURRAY: Let me just correct that. To call that a scandal is a put down on Chris Cuffe and a put down on the Bank. Chris Cuffe had a contract in which he earned everything he was paid. The Commonwealth Bank honoured a contract it acquired. How you could call that "scandal" is foreign to me.
QUESTION: Call it what you like, I guess my –
MR MURRAY: I call it an honourable…………
QUESTION: Okay, we can disagree on that one. Chris Cuffe came through Colonial and moved on and is building a new business over at Challenger. How big a threat do you think that business is to you in our sort of wealth management aspirations?
MR MURRAY: We see every competitor as a threat and the only way of getting on top of that is to have the best service and John Pearce is absolutely dedicated to that and I think the progress they have made since Chris left - and don’t forget that he put a huge stamp on that business because he effectively built it. So that sort of a change of a key person like Chris is significant in any business. I think John, and now with Stuart, in charge they are doing a magnificent job of re-establishing that business with its significant brand presence in the market in the wake of Chris Cuffe’s departure. Chris was always going to finish in the business at some time and I think they’re doing a good job.