news Banking and insurance giant Suncorp today revealed it had appointed Sarah Harland as its new chief information officer, just five months after the executive took up a similar position at health insurer Medibank Private.
In a statement issued in October last year, Medibank said it had hired Harland as its new executive general manager of technology and operations. Hardland was previously the general manager of Technology Group functions at ANZ Bank (since 2011) and also has experience at a number of other organisations such as the UK’s giant National Health Service agency and Qwest Communications.
At the time, Medibank said Hardland would take up the role in January this year.
However, this afternoon Suncorp announced the executive would jump ship to Suncorp.
“Suncorp Group CEO and Managing Director Michael Cameron has announced the appointment of Sarah Harland as the company’s new Chief Information Officer (CIO),” the bank said this afternoon.
At Suncorp, Harland will lead the Group’s technology and business intelligence strategy, with responsibility for all technology, digital enablement, cloud and infrastructure, protective services, Chief Data Office, projects and programs and innovation labs function.
“Sarah is an outstanding and experienced candidate and I am confident her leadership and track record over the past 16 years in similar roles will build on the momentum we already have and take Suncorp’s digital capability to the next level,” said Suncorp CEO Michael Cameron said.
Harland will start with Suncorp on 1 September 2016. Suncorp Chief Transformation Officer Clayton Herbert, who has been acting as caretaker since May, will continue in the role until Ms Harland commences.
The bank said Harland was a Chief Information Officer with “strong strategic and IT delivery expertise across various sectors including banking, health care and telecommunications”.
“She is a recognised global leader having successfully led the digital transformation of large scale, complex technology organisations using a combination of excellent business-aligned IT strategy, technical innovation and effective leadership,” the bank added.
Harland’s appointment came after Suncorp announced in early April that its existing CIO, Matt Pancino, had resigned, reportedly to take up a role at the Commonwealth Bank.
Certainly an odd look for Harland, to have taken up the Medibank Private role and then jumped ship to Suncorp after only a few months. I am sure Medibank is not happy with that outcome.
Having said that, however, I do understand why Harland made the move. Suncorp is a much larger organisation than Medibank. There are only so many whole of bank CIO roles in Australia worth taking, and the position at Suncorp would be a solid long-term opportunity for the executive, offering scale that Medibank could not match.
In addition, Suncorp is well-known for its innovative IT operation, which had been developed strongly by its former CIO Jeff Smith. I am sure the CIO role there would have been very attractive for Harland.