QBE appoints new CIO amid restructure



news Insurer QBE has unexpectedly appointed a new chief information officer, with its incumbent executive holding the position shifting to another position within the group.

Since November 2011 the company’s chief information officer has been Mike Emmett, who has a history in consulting on IT projects with companies such as Ernst & Young and IBM Global Business Services, Accenture and PriceWaterhouseCoopers. In the role, Emmett has been responsible for all aspects of IT across QBE’s Australian and Asia-Pacific operations, as well as delivering IT projects across the group.

However today the company confirmed it had appointed former IAG executive Tony Forward in January to be its new chief information officer, with Emmett remaining with QBE “in a different role”. Forward’s LinkedIn profile states he has been CIO at QBE since the start of this year. Previously he held several senior IT roles at IAG from February 2012, and before that he was the chief information officer of BT Financial Group (part of Westpac). He has also held other senior IT roles at Westpac.

The news comes as QBE has recently been reported to have been mulling offshoring significant aspects of its operations, with reports suggesting up to 700 jobs could be cut from the company’s local headcount of about 4,400. The Herald Sun has reported that the Finance Sector Union believes the jobs could go to India and the Phillipines.

Like QBE, IAG has also been engaged in cutting jobs over the past year. In March 2012, it was reported that the company would chop 600 jobs over the following three years, as part of a restructure of its CGU business.

And in April 2011, IAG Insurance giant IAG confirmed it was examining bids from a number of technology outsourcing partners to support its NRMA Insurance brand, as rumours swirled that the company will offload a portion of its technology operation to a provider in India.

The last time QBE is known to have cut IT jobs was in July 2011, when the company at the time confirmed it had made a number of staff in its IT department redundant and was seeking to hire a new chief information officer, as the company’s profits took a hit following the global series of natural disasters.

The company said it remained committed to redeploying staff wherever possible, and still maintained “a significant IT presence in Australia”, with over 400 IT staff employed across the country. The insurer was also currently recruiting for a new chief information officer as part of what it described as its “continuous improvement cycle”.

I don’t think there are many people out there who truly know what’s happening at QBE at the moment, but I have to say that it looks like a tough environment for a new chief information officer to go into. The company has already lost IT jobs over the past few years, and I would bet cold hard cash that if the company is losing quite a few local staff as reports have suggested in the past week, that at least some of those jobs will come from outsourcing some IT operations.

We’ve already seen both Woolworths and Boral outsourcing substantial chunks of their IT operations over the past few weeks. Will QBE join the club? It seems likely. In any case, I would bet its new chief information officer has a job of work ahead of him.

Image Credit: Will Hawksworth, royalty free


  1. Trust me this current new wave QBE management are a just another in the long line of predatory nasties orientated around their short term bonuses and not QBE’s long term interests. They’re brought in with no loyalty to the employees to do the biddings mandated by so called economic factors that are usually a made up farce, but we all shrug and go along with it anyway…. but, they’re not alone. Is it just coincidence that many other major companies operating IT in Australia are doing the same thing….?? – That is adopting an old strategy under a new label. Hardly. Do your research and you’ll find the likes of the obscure Tavisstock Institute working behind the scenes as a major instrument for the hidden hands that pull the strings to make these sparkling managers shine in their fields of apparent ‘expertise’.
    Why else is it so important to contniually try to redefine efficiency based on pure profit motive…?? Why would QBE suddenly feel the need to bring in the hatchet minions like Emmett…??
    Internally QBE IT (which will be the main focus of the redundancies) has suffered the glowing hand of the classic seagull management manoeuvres for at least the last eight years, being decimated time and time again. Not once could managament in that time admit the fact they were losing so much talent to other companies bought on by the nepotism and poor decisions they were making and then hiding it from the business. The current head of QBE completely ruined QBE IT in Europe. So what do they do…. promote him… and we suddenly find QBE IT Australia is next in line. The model is simple. Bring in non Australian management and empty Australia of it’s ability to acquire the necessary skill sets for it’s workforce. All with the compliments of the Australian Governemnt. Isn’t it also amazing how QBE has been able to circumvent the personal information laws with all our data now up in the Philppines. They even call it the Australian Data Centre. Pretty soon where will all the over skilled IT immigrants come to get away from the hell of their own countries fates ??? These being indirectly bought on from the facsist tyrannies that are masquerading as the ‘free’ world. Where will we Australians get a job, let alone our next generation..?? They’ll all be further in debt up to their eyeballs from the so called education system (just another coincidence you now have to pay dearly for) and then have to fight for a job in McDonalds for the rest of their lives. Doesn’t it seem a little coincidental that ALL our industries are suffering the same fate……?? Inevitably this is the endgame for the forces that most will deny you exist. You do realise in Australia and the world over in all industries big and small,every past time,entertainment pursuit and artistic endeavour have been subjuagated in some way from within leaving us with nothing but hollow self indulgences and our own selfish sense of self. Meanwhile, we stew in the NLP induced pretence of mainstream civility, hiding the real problems with political correctness,denial and the like (more Tavisstock creations by the way).
    The best our middle management can do is to get on linkedin and sing the praises of ‘off-shoring’….. go figure….!!

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