The Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) CIO Michael Harte recently resigned to take the role as Chief Operations and Technology Officer at Barclays Bank in London. Harte was the most lauded technology executive in Australia and ensured that the CBA had technology leadership in banking regionally and amongst the broader Australian corporate environment. He will leave a significant legacy and personality that has allowed the CBA to differentiate itself against its competition.
The first issue to address is the impact that this will have on the technology capabilities of the CBA. If the process has been executed as well internally, as it is considered externally, then it should be business as usual through the transition. It is reasonable to assume that the technology strategy and execution supported by the board will continue. Whilst it was led by one person, it was executed by many both in and out of the organisation.
The CIO role at the Australian big banks is under significant disruption. It has been in recent time an unprecedented unstable environment. It not coincidentally it aligns with the need for banks (and all organisations) to completely reinvent the way in which they manage technology within their organisation through cloud, analytics, digital and governance investments.
The advantage for the CBA is that it is the only bank in Australia who is positioned technology wise to shift to a digital, analytics and governance based future of technology.
I do not believe that the new CBA CIO will come from within the ranks of existing CIO’s in Australia. If the succession planning in CBA by Harte has been successful then an internal hire is a possibility.
What is essential is not going to be banking sector experience, rather an executive who understands the requirements of new business order to deliver an accelerated integrated digital strategy, an analytics function that drives business outcomes and a governance structure to manage that manages efficiency and compliance.
It is an incredibly exciting opportunity and a real chance for the IT department to prove future value that is measured on innovation and business outcomes. This is the perfect opportunity to create today, the CIO of the future with the focus on Information and Innovation, not on managing desktops, networks and middleware platforms.