EMBA graduate appointed to top position in New Zealand bank

The newly appointed CEO of New Zealand’s Kiwibank, a graduate from the Business School’s Global Executive MBA (GEMBA) program, says his time at The University of Sydney was “a critical intervention” contributing to his career’s success.

Steve Jurkovich, who was a member of the GEMBA’s first cohort, said the program’s “focus on the interplay between leadership, skills, knowledge, attributes and the lifecycle of businesses,” had a major influence on him.

“It accelerated my capabilities, provided a more global perspective and grew my confidence so that I had the ability to compete and succeed at the highest level,” said Mr Jurkovich.

Mr Jurkovich is the second GEMBA graduate to be appointed to a top banking job this year. Matt Comyn took up the position of CEO at the Commonwealth Bank of Australia in early April.

The Global Executive MBA has set the standard in leadership education in Australia, ranked continually as one of the nation’s leading Executive MBA programs by the biennial Australian Financial Review BOSS Magazine rankings.

“The global perspectives offered throughout the course were particularly impactful. When your market is the size of NZ then these insights are hard to come by,” said Mr Jurkovich.

Kiwibank was launched in 2002 and now has more than 800,000 customers and 1000 staff.

"Kiwibank has an incredible brand that resonates with all New Zealanders and it's a real privilege to be asked to guard and increase the reach of that brand,” said Mr Jurkovich.

Kiwibank board chair Dr Susan Macken said the recruitment process was a global one, focused on finding someone with the experience, skills and capability to lead Kiwibank in a highly regulated, increasingly digital and fast-changing world.

"Our new CEO has extensive experience right across the banking industry, and what most impressed me is his focus on customers,” said Dr Macken.

“He has demonstrated a deep understanding of the future of banking and a passion for doing what's right for customers," said Dr Macken.

Mr Jurkovich was formerly the Executive General Manager of Business Banking at ASB, a bank owned by Commonwealth Bank of Australia, operating in New Zealand. He also previously held roles at Westpac and the Commonwealth Bank of Australia.

Kiwibank, a second tier operator, is owned by the New Zealand Post Office while the country’s four big banks are all Australian owned.

“Banks have an important role to play in sustaining a prosperous New Zealand and I believe Kiwibank is a business that can really make a positive difference in this regard,” said Mr Jurkovich.