In the Spotlight: Hayley Cassidy, BNZ

In the Spotlight: Hayley Cassidy, BNZ

BNZ's Chief General Counsel Hayley Cassidy talks about the significant change that is taking place in the banking industry and how she is leading her team through the transition.

What attracted you to your new role?

The Challenge – The banking industry is undergoing significant change.  The opportunity to lead a large team in a complex organisation doesn’t come up very often in New Zealand.

Can you tell us about your 100 day plan?

I always have a plan. The 180-day plan for this role was fairly comprehensive. I had completed extensive due diligence to form the plan.

I met with ex BNZers, current ones, external suppliers, regulators – basically anyone who had an opinion. Companies like KPMG gave me detailed, comprehensive briefings on structure and personnel, which informed the plan. I’m also aware of my strengths and limitations so they factor in too. When planning, I consider what I want to achieve and work backwards; I then work iteratively on the plan and pivot as necessary.

To what extent have you achieved it and how much have you needed to adapt it?

I achieved the plan, and during the 180 days I worked with an executive coach to keep me accountable. I’m now on the next plan. They’re always adapting. Every morning I plan the day and ensure alignment with the bigger plans. At the end of the week I formally reflect on the week gone and plan the week ahead. If I didn’t do this, I’d just spend all my time fighting fires!

What are you learning about yourself as a leader and what is the biggest challenge you are facing?

When I started the biggest issue was resourcing – banking lawyers are in high demand and I was told they’re hard to get. Since starting, we have hired nine lawyers and now have one open role left. In a team of around 25 (core legal team – there are other lawyers at the bank), that’s a big influx. My key challenge is managing the transition from what was to what will be. I’m meeting that challenge by focussing on being kind, transparent and strategic – our internal customer advocacy is important, so you can often find me out and about meeting BNZers – I’ve been to Queenstown branches, Christchurch partners centre, all Northland branches, and of course Auckland and Wellington, listening to the stories and pain points but also just getting visibility.