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Former Westpac exec unveiled as CA ANZ CEO


The former major bank executive will now steer Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand through the COVID-19 crisis following a recent leadership clear-out.

By Jotham Lian 12 minute read

CA ANZ has now announced the appointment of Ainslie van Onselen as chief executive.

Ms van Onselen will commence her role as CA ANZ chief executive on 18 May, taking over from interim chief executive Simon Hann and succeeding former chief executive Rick Ellis, who chose not to extend his contract past this year.

Her appointment also follows the recent abrupt departure of CA ANZ board chair Tony Harrington, who was set to serve a three-year term following his appointment in August 2019.


Ms Van Onselen was most recently Westpac’s general manager of deposits and unsecured lending in the bank’s consumer division. She also led the bank’s wholly-owned subsidiary RAMS Home Loans as its former managing director.

Ms van Onselen was also chief of staff to former Westpac chief executive Brian Hartzer between 2013 and 2015. Mr Hartzer stepped down late last year following allegations that the bank committed 23 million breaches of Australia's anti-money laundering laws.

The professional body did not disclose Ms van Onselen's remuneration package but it is expected to be in the vicinity of Mr Ellis' $975,000 package that he received in 2019, comprised of a $750,000 base salary and an “at risk” component of up to $250,000.

CA ANZ interim chair John Palermo said Ms van Onselen’s appointment follows an extensive search process that commenced late last year.

“Ainslie is a great match for the qualities we were looking for. She’s a nimble thinker with an eye to the future, has a strong record of strategic thinking alongside a proven ability to be agile and a visible advocate for change for a public benefit,” Mr Palermo said.

“Her membership body mindset, future focus and digital acumen will be invaluable to make a difference for the profession of Chartered Accountants across Australia and New Zealand.”

It is understood that Ms van Onselen has not held prior CEO roles and sits as a non-executive director with various listed, government and not-for-profit organisations.

She has practised as a litigation lawyer, including as a partner in a specialist corporate and commercial practice in WA.

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Jotham Lian

Jotham Lian


Jotham Lian is the editor of Accountants Daily, the leading source of breaking news, analysis and insight for Australian accounting professionals.

Before joining the team in 2017, Jotham wrote for a range of national mastheads including the Sydney Morning Herald, and Channel NewsAsia.

You can email Jotham at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

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