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Report: Westpac likely to name former ANZ boss as next chairman

Westpac Banking Corp. is expected to name former Australia & New Zealand Banking Group Ltd. CEO John McFarlane its next chairman, The Sydney Morning Herald reported Jan. 22, citing a source close to the company.

McFarlane would replace Lindsay Maxsted as chairman of the Australian bank. Maxsted is set to leave the role in the first half of the year.

The Westpac board is said to have opted to pick McFarlane as the bank needed a "change agent" with extensive banking experience and a strong track record. McFarlane served as CEO of ANZ for a decade to 2007.

The new chairman will be dealing with the fallout from a money-laundering scandal that pushed Maxsted to opt for early retirement and prompted the resignation of Brian Hartzer as CEO. The new chairman also needs to pick a long-term CEO to replace Hartzer. Peter King, the bank's former CFO, is currently acting CEO and is seen as a key internal candidate for the CEO role.

The Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre on Nov. 20, 2019, filed civil penalty orders against Westpac for "serious and systemic noncompliance" with the country's anti-money laundering act, alleging the bank breached anti-money laundering laws on more than 23 million occasions.