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03-08-2012 03:02:00

UPDATE: Commonwealth Bank Names New Retail Banking Chief

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--Commonwealth Bank names Matt Comyn head of retail banking

--Mr. Comyn previously oversaw local-business banking division

--Retail arm delivers more than 40% of group profit

(Adds CEO comment in third paragraph, analyst remarks in fourth, background throughout)

By Caroline Henshaw and Rhiannon Hoyle

SYDNEY--Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA.AU) has chosen Matt Comyn, who previously ran its brokerage arm, to head up its retail banking division as the former chief departs for a senior role at Royal Bank of Scotland in London.

Mr. Comyn, who takes over from Ross McEwan as group executive of retail banking on Aug. 10, has led Commonwealth Bank's local-business banking division since 2010, and was earlier managing director of the CommSec brokerage unit.

While Commonwealth Bank's Chief Executive Ian Narev described Comyn as "ideally suited" to manage the growth of its retail operations--which contribute more than 40% to group profit--some analysts questioned his experience.

"He's got very big shoes to fill," said one equity analyst who asked not to be named because he is not authorised to speak to media. "As head of retail banking, he'll have to deal with the branch network and the margin strategy, which are very different to what he's done before."

Commonwealth Bank shares were down 0.6% At A$56.23 early Friday, less than the decline for the nation's benchmark stock index.

Mr. Comyn's predecessor announced in May that he would be relocating to the U.K. to head of RBS' retail operations, having oversee the country's largest home-loan and deposit business since 2007. CBA's retail operations include more than 1,100 branch networks across Australia.

Mr. McEwan last year was considered by some analysts as a frontrunner to replace ex-Commonwealth Bank Chief Executive Ralph Norris. At RBS, he'll replace Brian Hartzer, who takes up a senior position at Westpac Banking Corp. (WBC.AU)

Write to Caroline Henshaw at caroline.henshaw@wsj.com and Rhiannon Hoyle at rhiannon.hoyle@wsj.com

Subscribe to WSJ: http://online.wsj.com?mod=djnwires

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

August 02, 2012 21:02 ET (01:02 GMT)

Copyright (c) 2012 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.

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