Matt Comyn, at 42, is young to be head of Australia’s biggest bank but he has experience in digital services, in retail banking where half the Commonwealth’s profits lie, and is expected to drive change in culture.
He has nearly 20 years’ experience in banking across business, institutional, retail and wealth management, and has significant technology expertise. He joined the Commonwealth in 1999, later running the share trading platform CommSec. In 2012 he was appointed Group Executive Retail Banking Services and also leads the development of digital products and services.
Comyn has been at the forefront of the bank’s innovation drive, encouraging the bank’s 45,000 staff to contribute ideas for improvements.
In an interview in 2014, he said: “There is nothing more frustrating than putting forward an improvement and nothing ever coming from it. A lot of effort goes into making sure we actually close that loop.”
He added: “From corporate functions and strategy, to each of our business lines, to people serving customers every day, anyone can come up with a range of things that either improve an existing product, or sometimes provide breakthrough thinking.”
On culture, now a major focus of the bank’s board of directors, he has been active in diversity initiatives, including as the inaugural executive sponsor of Unity, the bank’s LGBTI program, and doubling the proportion of women in leadership roles in the Retail Bank (General Manager and above) to around 40%.
Insiders at CBA told Business Insider Comyn was always seen as a future CEO.
However, they were surprised it happened so quickly, especially after the money laundering scandal which was a black mark on retail banking, Comyn’s fiefdom, although many saw the money laundering issue as more laid at the feet of risk and compliance.
However, he has been seen as a major force in transforming traditional banking services, growing the number of active digital users to more than six million customers, including more than four million Australians who log into the CommBank mobile app every day.
Under his watch, customer satisfaction increased to its highest levels, achieving a number one rating for the first time in January 2013, and sustaining this for 51 of the 60 months since.
In 2017 Comyn established CBA’s new approach to Financial Wellbeing, focused on giving customers more visibility and control over their finances through digital tools.
Between 2006 and 2010, he was Managing Director of CBA’s biggest digital business in CommSec, overseeing a significant modernisation of its technology platform and growing market share and profitability.
In 2010, he left the bank for a short time to become CEO of Morgan Stanley’s wealth business in Australia.
He returned to lead local business banking, looking after the bank’s more than 500,000 small business customers.
He is a Director of Unicef Australia and holds an Executive MBA from Sydney University, a Master’s degree in Commerce, majoring in finance, and a Bachelor’s degree in Aviation, both from the University of New South Wales. He has completed the General Management Program at Harvard Business School.
He is married with three children and lives in Sydney.
Comyn starts his new job on April 9 on a base salary will be $2.2 million. He can double that with short term bonuses. Long term bonuses are about $3.96 million.