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New chairman at Suncorp as insurer faces the heat over offshoring

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Suncorp Chairman John Story stepped down at last week’s AGM, after defending the group over its plan to offshore jobs to India.

Mr Story, who has been on the Suncorp board since 1995 and chairman since 2003, has been replaced by former Telstra CEO Ziggy Switkowski, who has been a Suncorp board member since 2005.

Mr Story and CEO Patrick Snowball were quizzed at the meeting over the company’s plans to offshore an unspecified number of insurance positions. 

Finance Sector Union Acting National Secretary Chris Gambian told shareholders that while Suncorp continues to make healthy profits and directors’ remuneration continues to rise, “at the same time the company is refusing to unequivocally rule out sending jobs offshore”.

Mr Story said the company “cannot rule out outsourcing, but the decisions we take will at all times be in the best interests of the company”.

Mr Snowball told the meeting that while offshoring continues to be investigated, the focus is on “non customer-facing activities” such as back-office, technology and information management roles.

“There will inevitably be a small amount of routine customer interface, but this will be relatively limited.”