ONE year after leaving Westpac Banking Corporation, Tony Howarth has returned to the finance sector as chairman of Home Building Society.
Home confirmed market expectations this week when it announced Mr Howarth, who has been a director since June, would succeed Bernard Wright. Mr Wright retired at last week’s annual general meeting after 16 years as chairman.
As well as a new chairman, Home also has a relatively new chief executive, with David Jones taking that role earlier this year.
Mr Howarth brings 30 years banking experience to Home, including a long stint as chief executive of Challenge Bank and Westpac in WA.
He said Home had a “great Western Australian brand” and, as one of the few publicly listed financial institutions in WA, offered real potential for growth.
He signalled a focus on lifting the profitability of Home’s core business, which last year was eclipsed by rapid growth in its land development profits.
“There is a lot of work to be done in lifting the performance of Home financially,” he said.
When asked about possible takeover plays, Mr Howarth said: “I’m not thinking about corporate activity yet. Once we’ve lifted the performance of Home, then you have the opportunity to think about that”.
Mr Howarth said he was not seeking additional board positions.
“I’ve got enough on my plate for the moment.”
His board roles include the chairmanship of Alinta and directorships of Mermaid Marine Australia, St John of God Health Care Group and the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
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