Former PPR CEO Michael Pooley becomes Westpac’s head of corporate affairs

Michael Pooley is Westpac’s new head of corporate affairs for its consumer division.

Pooley was previously with WPP AUNZ’s PPR agency for over a decade, and became CEO in 2017. He announced his departure in September last year to launch a communications consulting firm, Map Collective, just days before WPP AUNZ revealed PPR would be dissolved into BCW.

Pooley started his new role this month

Now, Map Collective appears to be on the back burner, as Pooley focuses on his Westpac role.

He joined the finance group in January as head of campaigns. From this month, however, he’s head of corporate affairs for its consumer division.

He will report to Emily Gatt, director of corporate and business communication in the bank’s customer and corporate relations division.

The bank has faced reputational and media challenges over the past 12 months, with The Australian Financial Review’s Joe Aston declaring the bank’s group executive for customer and corporate relations, Carolyn McCann “must go” and should be shown the door. “That brand needs a fresh keeper”, he argued.

The calls for McCann’s departure related to the bank’s handling of revelations the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC) took action against Westpac, alleging “systemic non-compliance” 23 million times. This, AUSTRAC alleged, covered $11bn in transactions, which could be linked to child exploitation and live child sex shows.

McCann remains in her role.

In July last year, group head of communication, Mikeela Sinclair, became group head of reputation. And Sarah Scott was head if public relations until December last year, when she left to become head of ecosystem and partnership communications at Xero.


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