Spring to exit CommBank Wealth

The Commonwealth Bank’s group executive, Wealth Management, Annabel Spring is leaving the business.

Spring’s departure has been announced to the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) with the bank’s chief executive, Ian Narev saying that she had decided to leave the group in December.

“Annabel will continue to lead the wealth management businesses, the divestitutre and the strategic review until the end of this year,” he said.

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“Michael Venter, currently the Chief Financial Officer of International Financial Services and formerly Group Deputy Chief Financial Officer and Chief Officer of Wealth Management has been appointed Chief Operating Officer of Wealth Management with immediate effect,” Narev said.

He said Venter would represent Wealth management at the Group Executive Committee following Spring’s departure.

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Spring's departure was destined to happen following Narev's announcement that he was on the way out. Their history together is intertwined and they leave a legacy riddled with scandals for the bank and the wealth unit.
Spring and Narev were instrumental in the Count acquisition that has not been EPS positive and have overseen the Comminsure and Commonwealth Financial Planning debacles. The brand and reputational damage has been immense. The cultural damage is not as well illustrated from an external perspective but rest assured, the people departures on their watch leaves the Wealth business in a precarious position. No doubt the golden handshakes they will both receive will be worth the personal pain.

More heads will roll soon. What CBA needs is a CEO with in depth knowledge of retail banking (like David Murray) or IT ( like Ralph Norris) with great understanding of customer needs. Investment bankers cannot run a retail bank and they are only good for acquisitions/mergers/sell-offs. Hope CBA board would have realised this basic requirement by now. Too late?

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