Commbank's Harte best bank CIO two years running

Hard work pays off for behemoth bank

Commonwealth Bank of Australia CIO Michael Harte has been awarded the best bank CIO, or "eBanker", for 2008 at a ceremony in Sydney last night giving him the title for the second year in a row.

Contending the award for best CIO or eBanker of the year with Harte was a who's-who of bank IT leaders, including Iain Blacklaw from the Bank of Queensland, ANZ CIO David Cartwright, Dianne Sias from Westpac, Suncorp's Jeff Smith, Nigel Smyth from the Macquarie Group, and 2006 winner Michelle Tredenick NAB.

Harte joined the Commonwealth Bank in 2006, and according to the ceremony's host Samantha Armitage from the Seven Network "is regarded by the investment community internationally as a leader in open systems, architecture, investment management software, and systems development".

Harte leads the development of the CBA's group technology function and its enterprise-wide IT strategy, and while no reason was given why he won the award it may have been influenced by his $500 million dollar-plus legacy systems replacement program expected to catapult the bank into the twenty-first century.

As group executive enterprise IT and chief information officer, Harte scored a healthy remuneration package of $1.7 million last year.

"I'm not sure who does the voting, but you are very kind," Harte said when receiving the award. "There are thousands of us back at work, some still there right now, every single day struggling for some recognition and this is the right sort of recognition for our team."

Harte said the real award the IT staff are after is recognition in the industry as being "the finest".

"We are all struggling every single day to make sure our business is regarded by our customers as being the finest and number one in customer service, so we are not going to rest until we have got that award."

The awards ceremony is produced by Australian Banking and Finance magazine.

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