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Suncorp shakes up the ranks as it prepares for post-COVID


Suncorp has shaken up its business operating model and recast its executive management team as it moves to take opportunities from the pandemic and digitise its business.

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Managing director Steve Johnston announced a new boss of the wealth and banking division, Clive van Horen, as he also said the head of insurance Gary Dransfield would leave the business and Lisa Harrison would become the chief executive officer of insurance product and portfolio.

Paul Smeaton will move from his job as head of the New Zealand business to the new role of chief operating officer and Jimmy Higgins will take control of New Zealand.

Amanda Revis, who was chief people experience officer, has also lost her role and will leave later this year.

The reshaping of the company will also mean the insurance business will have two divisions.

Johnston said the pandemic would have a neutral impact on the company’s earnings, excluding market movements and impairments, but there had been some significant changes including a dramatic fall in motor insurance claims.

He also predicted the company would have to change and consolidate its footprint with the pre-COVID 10 people for every eight desks being halved and unlikely to go back as more people work from home and the company digitises its functions.

Johnston said the company had made good progress on the priorities he outlined last year but the “summer of natural disasters” and the pandemic had justified a faster pace of transformation.

He said the pandemic had led to more people using digital channels and introduced new ways of doing business.

“It has changed our perspective on what is possible,” Johnston said.

Its natural hazard allowance was expected to increase by $40 million to $130 million.

The 2020 upper limit on the catastrophe program would be $6.5 billion and Suncorp’s maximum event retention stays at $250 million.

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