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Karen Silk – SBC Chair

General Manager, Experience Hub Westpac New Zealand Limited

Karen Silk

Karen is a highly experienced financial services executive with a strong track record of building and transforming businesses across both Australia and New Zealand.

Karen currently heads up Westpac NZ’s Experience Hub, which is comprised of cross functional teams - including marketing, analytics, products and engineering - working to deliver better outcomes for customers. In addition Karen leads both the Westpac Life and BT Funds Management businesses, and chairs Westpac NZ’s Climate Change Action working group.

Sustainability is a key focus of Karen’s work. She’s helped drive Westpac’s commitment to lending $2bn towards climate change solutions by 2020, and oversaw the issuance of New Zealand’s first green bond in June 2019. A board member of the NZ Sustainable Business Council since 2017, she was appointed chair in 2019.  Karen is also co-chair of the Sustainable Finance Forum, a work stream of the Aotearoa Circle – a joint business and Government initiative started in 2018 – and was a mentor of the Reference Panel for the Green Investment Fund.

Before taking up her current role, Karen led Westpac NZ’s commercial, corporate and institutional banking for seven years.  Prior to returning to New Zealand in 2012, she held a range of senior positions within Westpac Australia, including Managing Director and Global Head of Debt Capital Markets, where she led the Institutional Bank cleantech lending and social and affordable housing programs.  She has also led Westpac Australia’s Corporate and Institutional Property teams and was the inaugural chair of the Westpac Group Property Risk Council.

Karen is a graduate of Canterbury University and INSEAD Alumni.