Economy

Westpac chief resigns; Former Yellow Tail wines director faces drugs charges; Midday Roundup

Kirsten Robb /

Westpac chief executive Gail Kelly has resigned from the top job after seven years in the role.

The bank announced this morning its board had appointed Brian Hartzer, current chief executive of Australian Financial Services, to succeed Kelly from February 1, 2015.

“Gail is one of Australia’s most successful CEOs,” said Westpac chairman Lindsay Maxsted in a statement to shareholders.

“She was appointed as the Global Financial Crisis was unfolding and her leadership and dedication has seen Westpac emerge a stronger and better company. During her tenure the value of the company has more than doubled, with market capitalisation increasing from just under $50 billion to around $104 billion.”

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Kelly was the first female chief executive to lead one of Australia’s big four banks.

She has given no indication why she is leaving the post, but in recent years had hinted she would consider retirement in 2014-15.

Former Yellow Tail wines director faces drugs charges

One of the brothers behind successful wine company Yellow Tail has been charged with a number of drugs related offences, reports Fairfax.

Marcello Casella has been charged with one count of cultivating a prohibited plant and one charge of participating in a criminal group.

Casella ceased being a director of Yellow Tail’s parent company, Casella Wines, in February after police raided a property linked to him and charged him with firearm-related offences.

He and his brothers successfully transformed the company started by their father in 1969 into an Australian export success story, turning over more than $100 million at its peak, according to Fairfax.

Casella will appear in court again in January.

Local shares down

Aussie shares are down this morning, following a poor run on the stock market yesterday.

“Yesterday’s underperformance and a close near the lows suggest spill over selling may see the local index slip further today,” said Michael McCarthy, chief market strategist at CMC Markets.

“A swing in share market sentiment from negative to neutral during the overnight session may not be enough to deliver a positive result for Australian stocks today.”

The S&P/ASX200 benchmark was down 29 points to 5434.1 points at 12:00PM AEST. On Wednesday, the Dow Jones closed down 0.02%, falling 2.70 points to 17,612.2 points.

*This article was updated at 2.30pm on Wednesday, April 4, 2018. 

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Kirsten Robb

Kirsten Robb is a former journalist at SmartCompany. Previously, she worked at News Corp as a property reporter for Leader Newspapers and the Herald Sun, and holds a Masters of Journalism at Melbourne University.

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