On Monday, the recently scolded Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) announced the immediate resignation of its Group Executive, Financial Services and Chief Financial Officer (CFO), Mr. Rob Jesudason.
Soon thereafter, Block.one – the EOS.IO software publisher – issued a press release declaring the successful appointment of Mr. Jesudason. He will join Block.one “later this year” to take on the role of group president and chief operating officer (COO).
Additionally, Block.one’s Monday announcement revealed that “Jesudason will be a member of Block.one’s Board of Directors and be responsible for scaling the group’s global operations.”
Hong Kong, It’s Been Too Long
Per the CBA’s official statement addressed to shareholders, Jesudason’s new “external role” will be based in Hong Kong; an area he is highly familiar with.
Per his LinkedIn profile, Jesudason has worked from Hong Kong many times before. Across 2006 and 2007, he worked for J.P. Morgan; serving as Managing Director, Asian Special Situations Group. He then transferred to Credit Suisse, where he worked as a managing director; leading both the ‘Asia Pacific FIG’ and the ‘Global Emerging Markets FIG’ from October 2007 through to December 2011.
Joining CBA’s Sydney headquarters in December of 2011, Jesudason internally transferred back to Hong Kong in November of 2014 where, until last July (i.e., when he became CFO), he served as group executive for international financial services.
Executive Exodus Continues For Disgraced Bank
Whilst quick to mention that Jesudason had left “a global top-12 bank by market capitalization at AUD $125 billion” for Block.one, a glaring omission was any mention of some highly pertinent background information that almost certainly prompted the departure of the CBA board member.
Indeed, the CBA – which is not only Australia’s largest publicly-listed company (ASX:CBA), by market cap, but also the largest bank in the southern hemisphere – has recently come under intense scrutiny by way of a Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry; a formal enquiry that has utterly disgraced the nation’s “big four banks”, and has seen billions wiped off their respective market caps.
With news of Jesudason having quit, the Commonwealth Bank has now parted ways with four senior executives in almost as many weeks. Indeed, just days after the Royal Commission’s first round of hearings (re: consumer lending practices), the besmirched banking giant announced on March 26 that its Group Executive Human Resources, Group Executive Institutional Banking and Markets, and Group Executive Enterprise Services (who also served as Chief Information Officer) “will leave the Bank in the coming months.” This preceded a change in CEOs that transpired on April 9.
Where There’s Smoke…
Whether warranted or otherwise, there’s no disputing the fact that both Block.one and its EOS.IO blockchain protocol have attracted a disproportionate amount of condemnation by certain influential voices within the cryptosphere.
And whilst it’s by no means being asserted that the highly qualified Jesudason is lacking in moral fortitude, it’s rather unnerving to read that today’s appointment concluded what Brendan Blumer (CEO, Block.one) described as a “thorough search for the right individual.”
One can’t help but wonder which other applicants Block.one recruiters evaluated as part of this so-called “thorough search,” for it seems somewhat dubious that their new president and COO is a (now former) senior executive of a bank currently at the heart of a historic royal commission that has unearthed some appalling behaviour. In one telling example, the CBA admitted to having charged clients – both dead and alive – with ongoing fees for advice services never provided.
Separate from the banking royal commission, the Commonwealth Bank also recently admitted to more than 53,000 breaches of the anti-money laundering and counter terrorism financing act. The out-of-favour bank was also the subject of a scathing April 30 report published by Australia’s financial services regulator, APRA.
Notably, the CBA senior executive’s hiring comes just two months after the controversial Brock Pierce parted ways with Block.one; an organization he co-founded and served as chief strategy officer (CSO).
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