Suncorp New Zealand welcomes Suraiya Phillimore-Smith as Chief Customer Officer

1 December 2023

After an extensive recruitment process, Suncorp New Zealand has appointed Suraiya Phillimore-Smith as its new Chief Customer Officer. 

Phillimore-Smith will take up the role on March 4, shifting from Westpac New Zealand, where she is currently Chief Marketing Officer. 

The Chief Customer Officer at Suncorp New Zealand has responsibility for partnerships, including an extensive broker and adviser network. The CCO also leads brand, marketing, communications, government relations and a growing sustainability function. 

Chief Executive Jimmy Higgins is delighted with Suraiya’s appointment. 

“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. 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.”

New Suncorp New Zealand Chief Customer Officer, Suraiya Phillimore-Smith

Phillimore-Smith says she’s looking forward to joining a progressive business at a time when insurance has never been more important to New Zealanders.

“Suncorp has a clear connection from purpose to people to community.”  

Higgins says Phillimore-Smith’s appointment comes at a critical time for Suncorp customers.

“As we near the summer break, the team are fully focused on resolving all claims from the weather events earlier in the year. We have a goal to get all customers home by Christmas – and while we’ll fall just short of that, it’s driven us to do everything we can for customers who still don’t have a secure place to call home.

“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.”

Paul Gallop has been acting in the role and will continue to do so until Phillimore-Smith joins the team next year, and then will return to his role of Executive Manager, Strategic Broker Partnerships. 

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Media enquiries: Kimberley Cameron +64 27 208 1268 

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