Suncorp NZ welcomes new chief customer officer

She will step into the new role in early March

Suncorp NZ welcomes new chief customer officer

Insurance News

By Kenneth Araullo

Suncorp New Zealand has announced the appointment of Suraiya Phillimore-Smith (pictured above) as its new chief customer officer, effective March 4.

In her new position at Suncorp New Zealand, Phillimore-Smith will oversee several key areas including partnerships, especially with a vast broker and adviser network. Her responsibilities extend to brand management, marketing, communications, government relations, and the burgeoning sustainability sector within the company.

According to her LinkedIn, this move also comes as Phillimore-Smith transitions from her current role as chief marketing officer at Westpac New Zealand.

Until Phillimore-Smith assumes her role, Paul Gallop will continue as the acting chief customer officer. Following her commencement, Gallop will resume his position as executive manager of strategic broker partnerships.

“We have an existing wealth of insurance experience and talent in the customer team, so I was looking for something quite specific with this appointment – including experience in an intermediated business model, and confidence in the emerging sustainability regulatory requirements,” said Jimmy Higgins, chief executive of Suncorp NZ. “That, combined with Suraiya’s global brand and marketing experience made her an unbeatable candidate, and I see her as an important addition to our leadership team.”

Higgins also emphasised the timing of Phillimore-Smith's appointment, noting its significance for Suncorp customers, especially in the context of resolving claims from earlier weather events. He mentioned the company's goal of settling all claims before Christmas, acknowledging the slight shortfall in meeting this target.

“Suraiya will bring fresh energy and a global perspective. Her career is fascinating – from starting her professional life in the military, to being the global lead for the Vodafone brand, and driving the Vodafone 5G programme in New Zealand, her experience is pretty unique. Suncorp New Zealand will benefit from that, and so will our customers,” Higgins said.

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