Financial services conglomerate Suncorp yesterday announced the appointment of Mr Steve Johnston as Group CEO, following a competitive and robust recruitment process which included high-calibre global and local candidates.
Mr Johnston, 53, who has worked for Suncorp for nearly 14 years, said, “We are focused on improving the performance in our banking, wealth and insurance businesses by implementing regulatory change, driving operational excellence and scaling our digital and data capabilities.”
He said he had seen first-hand Suncorp’s industry-leading response to devastating natural disasters which had impacted customers and communities across Australia and New Zealand.
“The serious bushfires currently impacting areas of southern Queensland and northern New South Wales reinforce the important role we play in society.
“As well as getting our customers back on their feet, I’m committed to ensuring that every Australian has access to affordable, relevant and valuable financial services products, while balancing the needs of customers, communities and shareholders,” he said.
Mr Johnston, who had served in an acting CEO role for three months, said that there are no plans to sell the group's banking business which he described as strategically important to the group. Banking operations generated about a third of group profits last year.
He conceded "cross-selling" was getting harder but he argued that keeping insurance and banking under the same ownership presented other advantages, according to a report by The Sydney Morning Herald.
“We do have a very big customer base. And yes I would accept that some elements of what they call traditionally 'cross-sell' are becoming more difficult in the current regulatory environment. But we have an opportunity available to us by creating a digital platform to better leverage the extent of the group-wide customer base and deliver better value for customers,” Mr Johnston said.
Suncorp owns insurance brands including AAMI, GIO, Bingle, and Apia.