Commbank wins bank CIO for 2007

IT takes centre stage in banking sector

Commonwealth Bank of Australia CIO Michael Harte won the Australian Banking and Finance award for the best CIO, or "eBanker", of 2007 at a gala ceremony in Sydney last night.

Harte was up against a quality field, including the Bank of Queensland's Iain Blacklaw, ANZ's Mike Grime, St George Bank's John Loebenstein, Westpac's Simon McNamara, Macquarie Bank's Nigel Smyth, and last year's winner, Michelle Tredenick from the National Australia Bank.

Harte leads the development of the CBA's group technology function and its enterprise-wide IT strategy.

The ceremony was hosted by the Nine Television Network's finance editor, Ross Greenwood. Guests included former Australian Rugby Union chief, John O'Neill, and deputy leader of the federal Labor party, Julia Gillard.

"It's great to hear Julia [Gillard] talk about prosperity and growth, and the only thing technology does is contribute to that both on a micro and macro level," Harte said, in receiving the award. "We are proud to pick up the award."

The humble Harte is at the helm of IT at one of Australia's "big four" banking and financial institutions while it undergoes significant change with its communications infrastructure and services contracts, and upgrades to its Internet banking security.

"The only way of sustaining the advantage of technology is having access to the very best people," he said. "So if I could ask Julia about her next job it would be to give us the most amount of flexibility to hire the right people and to source those people from anywhere in the world where they are the best at what they do."

The awards ceremony is produced by Australian Banking and Finance magazine. Voting is public and "incentive-driven, staff enlisted votes" by nominated companies are not accepted.

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