Westpac NZ CEO Receives Order of Australia Award
Ann Sherry, Westpac New Zealand Chief Executive Officer has been appointed as an Officer in the General Division of the Order of Australia (AO) today.
The Order of Australia was created in 1975 recognising either service to Australia or to humanity.
Sherry’s award is recognition of her service to the community through the promotion of corporate management policies and practices that embrace gender equity, social justice, and work and family partnerships.
Ann Sherry is the first female chief executive officer of a bank in New Zealand.
She has been with the Westpac Group for over eight years, having been the Group Executive People & Performance, and the Chief Executive Officer of the Bank of Melbourne. During her time with the bank she developed key policies including those for paid maternity leave, change management practices and has been involved with leading edge management development.
Sherry has been at the forefront of developing and encouraging opportunities for women in business. Classified as a champion for women in business, Sherry, has also been concentrating on improving the experience for women as customers. Westpac is now considered Australia's preferred bank for women in business and Westpac New Zealand is also making its mark in this market with the recent release of the women’s business book Woman2Woman co-authored by Westpac’s Director of Corporate Affairs June Mcabe and the implementation of “woman champions” throughout New Zealand.
Sherry’s experience before Westpac also included a focus on the role and status of women - she was First Assistant Secretary of the Office of the Status of Women in Canberra, advising the Prime Minister on policies and programs to improve the status of women in Australia.
As well as her current role at Westpac New Zealand, Sherry is an adjunct Professor of the University of Canberra and a member of the Board of Indigenous Enterprise Partnerships (IEP).
Ann Sherry said she was overwhelmed with the award and truly honoured that she was being recognised at this level.
“You certainly don’t get involved in these sorts of issues and with the community to receive an award. The satisfaction I have had from seeing the policies and procedures I have been involved in developing actually roll out in a practical sense is immensely satisfying,” she said.
Sherry is convinced that there are many people striving for similar things to her but that being a chief executive officer certainly has its advantages.
“I believe people in leadership can be very influential and have a responsibility to ensure that they use this leadership to make things happen,” she said.
The highlights of her business career have included work with indigenous people, creating opportunities for women and in implementing better conditions in the workplace.
So what challenges lie ahead for Ann Sherry?
"I think our community is looking for their bank to understand their needs better. I’m committed to ensuring that Westpac will be driven by customer preference more than we are currently; and to customers we haven’t served the needs of well in the past. Westpac will deliver solutions that reflect our customer needs and we will deliver that via our people and through the use of technology" she said.
Sherry will receive her award at an Investiture ceremony in Australia in April.
Further information on the Australian honours system is available on www.itsanhonour.gov.au.
Further background on Ann Caroline Sherry
Chief Executive Officer, Westpac New Zealand and Group Executive, Westpac
New Zealand and the Pacific 2002 to present, Westpac Banking Corporation.
Group Executive, People and Performance, Westpac Banking Corporation,
Chief Executive Officer, Bank of Melbourne, 2000-2002.
General Manager Human Resources and Public Affairs Bank of
General Manager Human Resources IIBG, 1996-1997.
General Manager, Policy - Human Resources, 1994-1996.
Founding Director, Australia Council of
Business Woman, 1995-2002, and
First Assistant Secretary, Office of the Status of Women, Department of the
Prime Minister and Cabinet, 1993-1994.
Director, Primary Care Division, Department of Health and Community
Director and Chief Executive Officer, Office of Preschool and Childcare
Other activities include:
Vice Patron, Centre for Women and Business University of Western Australia;
Member, Coordinating Group of the Global Summit for Women, held in Hong
AusAID consultant to South African government on the implementation of
affirmative action and gender equality;
Consultant to South African Government on the establishment of the National
Office on the Status of Women, the Gender Equality Commission and the
implementation of the South African Gender Equality Act (1995);
Board Member, Indigenous Enterprise Partnerships - working with indigenous
communities to develop financial sustainability and family income
Chairman, Functional Review of Childcare, 1991;
Board member, State Superannuation Board (Victoria), 1989-1990;
Board member, Prahran Community Health Centre, 1987-1992;
Chairman, Australian Institute of Family Studies, 1995-1999;
Adjunct Professor, University of Canberra.