Ambassador role calls to Rod after banking exit
AFTER an illustrious career spanning 40 years with his bank, respected Warwick banker and Westpac Agribusiness state manager Rod Kelly has announced his retirement.
But despite long-service leave and retirement, Mr Kelly's vast expertise won't be lost to the bank or the community, as he will take on the role of Australia's first Westpac ambassador.
"I'll be coming back on board as an ambassador for agri-business," he said. "I'll be mentoring younger people and making contact with industry and politicians."
In March 1975 Mr Kelly began his career as a branch office assistant in Warwick, the very same branch he will retire from on March 24 - exactly four decades later.
"I always had in my mind that I wanted to do 40 years with one employer - my goal was to start to and finish at the same place," he said.
"I think I've fulfilled my dream and my goals - it's time to hand over the baton and change the guard."
As his career progressed, Mr Kelly worked in a variety of roles in which he served the bank in senior positions across the state.
Since taking up his first senior role in 1998, the veteran employee has been travelling within the state every week.
"There's not many places in Queensland and the Northern Territory I haven't been," Mr Kelly said.
"I would leave home on a Monday and return on a Friday."
The Westpac group has 40,000 employees, with Mr Kelly named in the top 100 for length of service.
Westpac general manager of Commercial Banking Alastair Welch said Mr Kelly had an extraordinary track record, particularly during Cyclones Larry and Yasi and the floods in 2011 and 2013.
"Rod's support as a community leader for regional Australia and advancing the lives of rural Australians has made a great difference to them and Westpac," said Mr Welsh.
"Rod continues to be constantly sought out for his advice both within and outside of Westpac."
A 40-year career is certain to have its share of highlights, and Mr Kelly's certainly has a few.
"First of all the customers - I've seen customers and their businesses grow," he said.
"I've had the great privilege of working with a number of staff and seeing them develop and grow into very professional people."
Perhaps the biggest thing Mr Kelly has seen in his career is change.
"I've seen agri-business become more efficient and more productive," he said.
"It's really helping our customers prosper and grow."
Mr Kelly will take long-service leave from October 23, and officially retires on March 24.
Replacing the long-standing local is Peta Ward, a Westpac employee of seven years who began her banking career in Toowoomba.
The University of Queensland graduate, now the Head of Commercial and Agribusiness in Gippsland and Sunraysia, will take up her new role in October.