“Catherine is also the first to acknowledge the contribution of her Board colleagues and the CEO, his management team, and the thousands of staff that turn up to work each day to help customers.”
This approach culminated in the unveiling of the Group’s refreshed strategy in 2021, which focuses on:
- leading the transition to a sustainable and digital economy in tandem with Australia’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic;
- providing global-best digital experiences and technology to our customers;
- re-imaging the group’s products and services; and
- delivering simpler, better foundations based on CBA’s core banking business.
Ms Livingstone’s time as chair has seen substantial change at the company arising out of a number of challenges prior to and after 2017. These have included:
- the appointment of Matt Comyn as Chief Executive Officer in 2018;
- the Remedial Action Plan implementing recommendations by APRA to overhaul the bank’s governance, risk management and accountability frameworks;
- the implementation of recommendations from the Royal Commission;
- a major overhaul of the bank’s culture and values including setting new expectations of behaviour and responsibilities;
- Board renewal involving the appointment of seven new independent Non-Executive Directors;
- the divestment of all the Group’s non-core business operations including wealth management and insurance that is now largely complete;
- a multi-billion dollar technology and people investment program focused on digital banking and the engineering and data science that sits behind it.
With the Board’s new strategy in place and much of the above work done or well underway, Ms Livingstone believes that after six years on the board this is the right time to hand over to a new Chair who will take CBA to the next level of its purpose.
Her service at CBA has mirrored that of significant change and development at other companies she has led, either as an Executive or as a Chair and Non-Executive Board Director, during a, so far, 45-year business career.
Having joined the accountancy firm of Price Waterhouse in 1977 after graduating with an honours degree in accounting, Ms Livingstone served as the CEO of Cochlear, the innovative manufacturer of hearing implant devices, for almost seven years from 1994.
Cochlear developed a strong focus on innovation, research and development and investment in the future under her leadership, which also saw the company floated on the ASX.