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Suncorp appoints military man as CEO -

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Suncorp appoints military man as CEO

Peter Ryan reported this story on Wednesday, July 1, 2009 12:38:00

PETER CAVE: The troubled banking and insurance giant, Suncorp, has appointed a new chief executive
after an extensive global search.

A British financial services executive and former soldier, Patrick Snowball will replace John
Mulcahy, who resigned earlier this year after the global financial crisis carved $12-billion, a
hole that size in Suncorp's market value.

I'm joined in the studio now by our business editor Peter Ryan.

Peter firstly, what do we know about Patrick Snowball, has he as they say, got a snowball's chance
of turning this around?

PETER RYAN: Well Peter, I'm sure that he's heard all the puns and we do know that Suncorp is
Australia's fifth biggest bank, but insurance is the name of the game and that's what they do get
in Patrick Snowball.

He's had a big career at the world's fifth biggest insurer Aviva and most recently at Towergate in
Britain where he stepped down as deputy chairman last year, and that coincided with the meltdown on
financial markets. So no surprise about that decision, but it will come in handy when he starts at
Suncorp on the first of September.

In his in tray will be a warning earlier this year about spiralling debts at Suncorp are downgraded
in its profit forecast, and of course last year Suncorp delivered its worst result in 12 years.

And as I said, Patrick Snowball has heard all the puns about snowballs, but he does give himself a
good chance about turning Suncorp around.

PATRICK SNOWBALL: Despite some of the issues that the company has faced, I think this new role has
a huge amount to offer, and I hope it's seen as very much a new chapter, or the next chapter in the
progress of the company.

And I guess, despite the global downturn particularly coming from London, I get the sense that this
is very much a half full economy rather than a half empty one. And it seems there's a real sort of
can-do attitude in the people I have met, and that's certainly very much my background as well.

And that's a very attractive proposition coming from the UK.

PETER CAVE: That was the newly-appointed chief executive of Suncorp, Patrick Snowball.

As he said, he's got a background as a former soldier. How does he see that background fitting in
with running Suncorp?

PETER RYAN: Well Peter, this is Patrick Snowball's first appointment anywhere in the world as a
chief executive, but he does believe almost two decades in the British military has shaped his
financial services career to date.

He's a veteran of the Cold War based mainly in Germany, he's also served in Northern Ireland and
Brunei; in short he says he's seen the world, knows how it works.

Financial services though is a different game, but Patrick Snowball says there are similarities,
especially in the skills essential to survival.

PATRICK SNOWBALL: Absolutely. I think my style of leadership is based on 19 years of military
training, and certainly the amount of time invested in training and leadership in the armed
services is very, very significant.

And at the end of the day, the positions you make vary in one way from running a business is that
if you get it wrong people get killed.

PETER CAVE: Okay, Suncorp's previous CEO John Mulcahy, he's gone back out to the cold has he?

PETER RYAN: That's right, John Mulcahy said back in February that Suncorp's problems had nothing to
do with his decision to quit, but he does have a lot to smile about, he's walked away with around
$20-million in severance pay and shares.

And finally, there are some questions over the direction of Suncorp, it will be up to Patrick
Snowball to decide whether to split the company into two distinct parts.

PETER CAVE: Peter Ryan.