Westpac Hires CBA’s Cobley as Head of Institutional Banking

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Westpac Banking Corp.’s institutional banking head Rob Whitfield is leaving the lender after nearly 30 years and will be replaced by Lyn Cobley from competitor Commonwealth Bank of Australia.

Cobley, who is executive general manager for retail products and third party banking at Commonwealth Bank, will start in September, Westpac said in a statement. She’ll head a unit of 3,600 people that contributed 16.5 percent of the bank’s profit in the six months ended March 31.

“Whitfield’s exit isn’t a surprise given he probably missed out on the top job to Brian Hartzer,” said T.S. Lim, a Sydney-based analyst at Bell Potter Securities Ltd. “Cobley is a good replacement for him. The role requires a mainstream banker and Cobley coming from the biggest lender in the country has the qualification.”

Whitfield is the first senior executive to depart Westpac after Hartzer was elevated to CEO in February.

The lender is the second-largest arranger of bond deals in Australia, with a 14 percent market share in 2015, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. It’s also in second place for syndicated loans in Australia and New Zealand with a 21 percent market share.

Cobley has more than 20 years’ banking experience and as as treasurer navigated Commonwealth Bank through the global financial crisis as credit markets froze. Prior to Commonwealth Bank, she held roles in Barclays Plc and Citigroup Inc. in Australia, according to the statement.

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