Trailblazing CBA chair Catherine Livingstone to step down

Trailblazing CBA chair Catherine Livingstone to step down

Catherine Livingstone

After five years at the helm during some tumultuous times, Commonwealth Bank of Australia chair Catherine Livingstone is set to step down from the board in August.

Making the announcement today, with the news that she will be replaced by board member Paul O’Malley, Livingstone leaves a legacy of reputational repair, having been appointed as a number of issues engulfed the bank, including the banking royal commission.

Livingstone also steered the board during the pandemic, a particularly challenging time for banks given the pivotal place they had in supporting Australians through difficult times.

With women still barely occupying ten per cent of chair positions across the ASX 200, Livingstone’s tenure on one of Australia’s biggest companies will be missed.

Starting her career as an accountant, Livingstone was the first woman to lead an ASX 100 company, when she was appointed CEO of Cochlear back in the 1990s. She later became the first female president of the Business Council of Australia, and the first to chair CBA.

Livingstone said in the statement released today that she has been “honoured” to serve the bank during a time of “complex challenges”. She said the bank’s reputation has been rebuilt as one that brings “positive outcomes for its customers, people and shareholders.”

Livingstone’s replacement, Paul O’Malley, has been on the board since 2019 and is a former CEO of Bluescope Steel. He said on Livingstone that her tenure had “coincided with a time of considerable turmoil for CBA and the financial services industry more broadly. Catherine has ably led the Group through a number of its most significant challenges.”

Livingstone’s career has spanned more than 45 years, seeing her contributing leadership across numerous sectors including finance, science, telecommunications, medical devices and in the development of innovation policy.

Stay Smart! Get Savvy!

Get Women's Agenda in your inbox