TSB hires former Warehouse Financial Services head Donna Cooper as new CEO

TSB hires former Warehouse Financial Services head Donna Cooper as new CEO. Photo: Lynn Grieveson

TSB Bank has hired the former head of Warehouse Group's short-lived financial services unit Donna Cooper as its new chief executive, replacing long-serving Kevin Murphy who departed at the start of the year.

She's been tasked with overseeing the New Plymouth-based lender's growth strategy in what chair John Kelly describes as a changing environment shifts customer expectations. Cooper starts on July 23, letting Murray Bain return to the board after acting as managing director since Murphy left in January.

"Our priority in appointing TSB’s new CEO was demonstrable leadership capability to contribute to our vision, drive strategy execution through technology and customer-led innovation, and build relationships with all of the bank’s stakeholders," Kelly said in a statement. "The appointment of Ms Cooper to the role ticks all of those boxes. It also enables us to benefit from a fresh perspective at a time when the spotlight is on banks to put customer interests first."

Cooper had a short spell at Warehouse, joining the NZX-listed retailer in March last year to run what was then a relatively new unit offering credit cards, insurance and a pre-paid mobile brand. The company went on to sell the division in July to SBS Bank.

Prior to that Cooper was in charge of Baycorp New Zealand, and she worked at American Express before that.

Community-owned TSB doubled its dividend to $20 million in the March 2018 year as a $15.5 million write-back in an earlier impairment charge on its Solid Energy investment boosted operating income 9.7 percent to $163.3 million, offsetting a 3.6 percent decline in net interest income and helping boost profit 12 percent to $51.9 million.

The lender said it's in the third year of a five-year plan to find the right balance of people and technology, a new brand, and greater investment outside Taranaki.

"The trend of digitisation within the banking sector aligned with a need to deliver quality in-person customer experiences means we need to stay focused on balancing our investment across our people and technology," it said in its annual report. "None of these areas are short-term investments but all are necessary for long-term success."