Why this CEO is a 'bank superhero'

High praise indeed for this well-known figure

Why this CEO is a 'bank superhero'

The CEO of Commonwealth Bank of Australia has been named The Australian Financial Review’s Business Person of the Year, sharing the award with Fortescue Metals Group CEO Elizabeth Gaines.

Matt Comyn was recognised for his excellence in operational management and his commitment to “Team Australia,” AFR said.

The CBA head consolidated his institution’s position as the country’s top banker this year, with one member of AFR’s judging team describing him as a “bank superhero.”

Comyn helped the banking sector regain its political capital while also driving above-system growth in all key areas. He is a trusted private-sector advisor to the Morrison government on the economy and regulation. As CEO of Commonwealth Bank, Comyn oversees the country’s largest lending book – and has provided the highest level of loan forgiveness during the pandemic.

Comyn said that Australia’s economy has recovered from the COVID-19 pandemic faster than expected, and is optimistic about the country’s economic outlook. He told AFR’s Chanticleer CEO Poll that Australia’s rapid recovery was due to “a huge community effort to bring the virus under control, and unprecedented fiscal and monetary intervention to support the parts of the economy most in need.”

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“The private sector has played a very positive role here as well as in supporting customers and the community,” Comyn said.

The CEO was credited with making CBA employees’ health and wellbeing a top priority from the outset of the pandemic. The banking giant rapidly transitioned to a distributed workforce – and saw a spike in productivity.

“Our teams have gone above and beyond to continue supporting our customers and one another no matter where they were or how they were working,” Comyn said.

Still, he told AFR that he hoped to see employees back on site soon.

“For the vast majority of our roles, I would like to see out people spending time in the office, in part because some activities are done more effectively face to face,” he said. “Many people are also looking forward to reconnecting with their teammates and the social aspect of spending time with each other.”

Comyn also advocated for education and training to help young Australians prepare for industries’ increasing reliance on digital technology.

“This means a greater emphasis on learning and skills development in schools, universities and training centres by both government and the private sector,” he said.