Who will head BankDirect?

Competition for Jane Freeman's job as general manager of BankDirect is heating up with a number of contenders throwing their hats into the ring.

Competition for Jane Freeman's job as general manager of BankDirect is heating up with a number of contenders throwing their hats into the ring.

Telecom, Microsoft and EDS announced this week that Freeman would leave her post as chief of BankDirect to heaup up their new elSolutions joint venture, which will open for business early in the new year.

Ron Hooton, formerly CIO at Countrywide Bank, is one contender - another is ASB Bank general manager of technology Garry Fissenden, who set up the infrastructure for BankDirect before Freeman took over.

But ASB Bank CEO Ralph Norris is playing his cards close to his chest. "No decision has been made yet, but we are talking to a number of people, both internally and externally, who have expressed an interest."

Freeman finishes at BankDirect on December 17 and Norris hopes to have someone ready to take over immediately.

Hooton left Countrywide Bank when it was taken over by National Bank's parent company, Lloyds TSB. Since then he has been consulting for a number of companies, including Southern Cross Healthcare and Clear Communications, while looking for an opportunity to move up the corporate ladder.

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