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Gail Kelly Retiring From Westpac, Offers Advice For Future Leaders

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|Nov 13|magazine5 min read

Gail Kelly is retired from Westpac Banking Corp.

The CEO of seven years will step down in February of 2015; the top spot will be filled by Brian Hartzer. Hartzer has been the chief executive of Westpac’s Australian Financial Services business since 2012.

“The CEO transition will be seamless and Hartzer’s appointment is no surprise,” said Don Williams, Sydney-based founder and chief investment officer at Platypus Asset Management. “The challenge for Hartzer is the same as the challenge for all Australian banks—declining earnings momentum and the prospect of carrying more capital due to regulatory changes.”

“Gail leaves the Group in strong shape, and well placed to compete in the next phase of our strategy.” Said Chairman Lindsay Maxsted.

Kelly became the first female CEO of a major Australian bank and has been very successful in her tenure: the profits of the bank have more than doubled under her leadership.

At her press conference announcing her retirement, Kelly was able to offer the audience a few gems of advice.

* “Back yourself, ask for opportunities and dig deep when those opportunities come your way and have a go.”

* “You should actively choose to be positive, to see the world through a glass-half-full perspective. You should choose, even in difficult times, to look for the learning, the insights, the opportunities, the next steps.”

* “If you love what you do, you’ll do more of it; doing more of it, you’ll gather more confidence, more energy and get better at it. That builds more confidence and energy and you love it more.”

* “If you believe in practicing generosity of spirit, at heart you believe in the power of an individual to make a difference and at heart you treat individuals with deep respect and want to see others flourish.”

Information sourced from Bloomberg.