Heartland Bank announces Leanne Lazarus as new CEO
Heartland Bank has announced the appointment of Leanne Lazarus as Chief Executive Officer (subject to Reserve Bank of New Zealand non-objection), effective from 1 August 2022.
Leanne will succeed current Heartland Bank CEO Chris Flood who has been appointed Deputy Group CEO of Heartland Bank’s parent company, Heartland Group Holdings Limited (Heartland Group). Leanne and Chris’ appointments reflect Heartland’s commitment to digitalisation and ongoing growth across each of its entities.
Leanne’s leadership and extensive experience in operations and technology will contribute to advancing Heartland Bank’s digitalisation strategy and commitment to providing best or only products and an exceptional customer experience.
Leanne will join Heartland Bank from her role as CEO and Executive Director of Westpac Life, Westpac New Zealand’s insurance entity. Leanne has 30 years of global experience in banking and financial services, including having held a range of executive positions across Westpac New Zealand and ANZ Banking Group.
Stepping out of his role as Heartland Bank’s current CEO, Chris Flood’s appointment to Heartland Group Deputy CEO will include responsibility for the organisation’s organic growth across New Zealand and Australia, applying Heartland Bank’s successful growth model in New Zealand to Heartland’s Australian entities. Chris will also lead further strategic initiatives across the group.
Chris’ expertise and leadership as Deputy Group CEO will enable Heartland to achieve its ambitious growth aspirations across New Zealand and Australia. Chris Flood started with Heartland 25 years ago through MARAC Finance and has made a significant contribution to the business in this time, including successfully running the motor finance business during Heartland’s establishment in 2011, and more recently leading growth across the bank’s lending and deposit divisions as Heartland Bank CEO.
Chris moves formally into his role as Deputy Group CEO, Heartland Group, from 1 November 2022, allowing time for a comprehensive handover with Leanne.
Jeff Greenslade continues as CEO of Heartland Group, with responsibility for Heartland’s activity in New Zealand and Australia.
Biography: Chris Flood
Chris’ experience spans 35 years in financial services, including roles in New Zealand, Australia and the United Kingdom, working with Westpac, National Australia Bank, UDC and Heartland.
Originally from Christchurch, New Zealand, Chris has been living with his family in Auckland since 2002 when he moved to become General Manager Consumer for one of Heartland’s predecessors, MARAC Finance.
Chris has been with Heartland for 25 years, starting with MARAC Finance in December 1997. Chris has made a significant contribution to the organisation in this time, including successfully running the motor finance business during Heartland’s establishment in 2011, the integration and growth of Heartland’s Reverse Mortgage businesses in New Zealand and Australia, the development of Heartland Bank’s Livestock and Asset Finance divisions, and growth throughout the bank since becoming Heartland Bank CEO in 2019.
Biography: Leanne Lazarus
Leanne grew up in South Africa, where she established her career in the banking industry. Leanne moved to New Zealand in 1998 and brings to Heartland 30 years of global experience in banking and financial services.
Leanne has held a number of senior executive roles across Westpac New Zealand and ANZ Banking Group throughout Africa, Asia, Australia and New Zealand, leading multi-disciplinary teams of up to 6,000 people globally.
More recently, she was CEO and Executive Director of Westpac Life, Westpac New Zealand’s insurance entity. As a member of Westpac New Zealand’s Executive team, Leanne previously held roles as General Manager Customer Outcomes and General Manager Operations, Contact Centres, Property Services & Procurement.
Leanne’s extensive experience in operations and technology will contribute to advancing Heartland Bank’s digitalisation strategy, and the ongoing reduction of Heartland Bank’s cost-to-income ratio through removing customer friction and enhancing customer experience.