Meet Deana Candelori, Regional COO (Asia & NZ) at Commonwealth Bank


Tell us about your business

Most people connate CBA to its Australian operations and its retail arm, however we also operate in eight countries aboard where our predominate focus is on the Institutional Banking & Markets (IB&M) business. This international reach helps us understand the flows of capital and global industry insights critical for powering the Australian economy into the future.

The Asia region specifically comprises of six (6) branches located in Singapore, Hong Kong, Beijing, Shanghai, Tokyo and Auckland and deals into the following industry segments: financial institutions, industrials, logistics (primarily shipping and aviation), infrastructure and natural resources including agriculture. In Singapore, the Branch has a further focus on real estate, given the inbound capital opportunities into Australia. The core product offerings focus on core secured lending capabilities (trade finance, commodities, structured asset finance and project finance) and we also provide complementary risk management products to clients internationally.

What’s your role all about?

As Regional COO – Asia, some would say my primary objective is to keep Scott Speedie (Regional Head – Asia) out of trouble 🙂

In short, the Asia COO team is considered the ‘engine room’ for the Asia region.  Working with regional management and Head office, we drive the end-to-end operational performance and controls across the Asia Branches and make sure we have some fun along the way.  No one day is ever the same which makes the role always exciting and requires high energy to keep up with the pace.

We also oversee the governance requirements for the region ensuring our outsourcing and supplier governance, crisis management/business continuity framework, and remedial actions are well addressed.  This year in particular has been interesting for the team as we focused on ensuring the Asia region continues to effectively operate through a global pandemic.

I am also a strong advocate for Diversity and Inclusion and building our talent and capability, particularly in the Asia region.

What’s the hot topic in your sector right now?

CBA has recently refreshed and simplified its values to that of Care, Courage and Commitment.  Aligned to that of ‘Care’, CBA has paid considerable attention to our ‘people’.  This year has required many of us to change the way we live and work and being able to support our staff, customers and communities has been a major priority and focus.  In particular in Asia, we have implemented valuable initiatives to improve the wellbeing of our staff, knowing that a more resilient workforce will help better service our customers and communities.

Why are you a member of AustCham in Singapore?

Through Austcham’s past events and connections made with people from various industry groups, CBA has been able to foster some great relationships and I personally have gain some lasting friendships.  We have also been able to better understand the Singapore and Asia business environment and how CBA can contribute in this space.

Where are your go-to places in Singapore for great coffee?

At the start of Covid, my husband and I invested in bicycles and made it our once a day adventure to ride to our favourite coffee places…we also got to discover many more along the way.  Our top picks include Nylon Coffee Roasters, Five Oars, Stamping Ground Coffee, Coffee Academics and Common Man Stan.

Where in the world would you travel to right now if COVID wasn’t an issue?

With my family on a sailing boat off the coast of Sardinia, (Aperol Spritz in hand) with an Italian captain (double hatting as a chef) and eating and swimming our way through all the neighbouring islands and coastal cities.  Bliss!!


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