This content is from: Corner Office

PEOPLE - Westpac's New Face

Gail Kelly was not revealing much about her strategic plans after being named the new CEO for Sydney-based Westpac Banking Corp. in August, but she was quite clear about the agenda for her near-six-month "gardening leave" as she serves out her contract at St. George Bank, the Sydney-based regional.

Gail Kelly was not revealing much about her strategic plans after being named the new CEO for Sydney-based Westpac Banking Corp. in August, but she was quite clear about the agenda for her near-six-month "gardening leave" as she serves out her contract at St. George Bank, the Sydney-based regional. First stop, the Rugby World Cup in France this month, and then back to Australia to help her 17-year-old triplets -- Sean, Mark and Anne -- get through their final-year exams at school. On February 1 she takes over as Westpac CEO.

The South African­born Kelly is a former Latin teacher whose first bank job was as a teller with what is now Nedbank in Johannesburg in 1980. She will be Westpac's 24th -- but first female -- CEO, and the first woman to head a top 20 company in Australia.

Westpac avoided many of the lax lending practices that fueled the buyout boom, and Kelly is likely to continue the conservative approach. "I've always said boring is good, and let me repeat again, boring is very good in volatile markets such as this," she says.

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