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Australia's CBA names internal candidate Matt Comyn as new CEO

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[BENGALURU] Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) has named retail banking head Matt Comyn as chief executive, as it seeks to maintain operational continuity while trying to improve its reputation amid the most challenging trading conditions in decades.

Mr Comyn, who was previously group executive for CBA's retail banking arm, will start his position on April 9 and focus on addressing "regulatory and reputational challenges", the bank said in a statement to the stock exchange on Monday.

"Matt's appointment will enable a smooth transition to new leadership, as CBA responds to the current regulatory processes and legal proceedings, accelerating the related changes and improvements already underway," CBA chairman Catherine Livingstone said in a statement.

Mr Comyn replaces outgoing chief executive Ian Narev, who has led the country's largest bank since December 2011, in a period marked as much by record profits as allegations of serious misconduct.

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CBA said Mr Comyn would receive a fixed annual remuneration of A$2.2 million (S$2.34 million).

Australia's "Big Four" are among the world's most valuable and profitable banks. They have underpinned a multi-decade housing and economic boom, racking up strong earnings thanks in part to regulations that have helped shield them from non-bank lenders and overseas rivals.

But Mr Comyn's appointment comes as CBA and its dominant peers face a government investigation into misconduct in the sector, while also facing tighter credit conditions and competition by technology giants such as Apple, Amazon and Facebook Insisting the move was not in retaliation for a series of scandals under Mr Narev's leadership, including insurance scams, poor financial advice and accusations of widespread breaches of money-laundering laws, CBA said last year he would retire by June.

REUTERS

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