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Gail Kelly

b. 1956

Gail Kelly (b. 1956), former banking executive, was born in South Africa and gained degrees in arts and education from the University of Cape Town before working as a high-school Latin teacher. Having completed an MBA (with distinction) at the University of the Witwatersrand, she began the 35-year executive career in banking and finance that has earned her four honorary doctorates. Throughout the 1990s, she held various general management positions, first as head of Human Resources within the Nedcor Group. In 1997, she moved to Australia to take up a senior position at the Commonwealth Bank. In 2002 she became chief executive officer and managing director of St.George Bank, which recorded double-digit growth during her six-year tenure. In 2008 she moved to head Westpac, leading its $18.6 billion merger with St.George. In 2010, the mother of four (including triplets) publicly announced a target of 40% women in management positions across the Westpac Group. With this achieved ahead of target, before Kelly retired in 2015 the goal was increased to 50% by 2017; this, too, has come to pass. She now serves on various committees, boards and councils worldwide and is an adjunct professor at the University of New South Wales. Her book Live Lead Learn: My Stories of Life and Leadership was published in 2017.
Updated 2018