How Commonweath Bank Is Formulating And Implementing Strategy

We sat down with Adrian Coppini, MD of Commonwealth Bank Australia


Adrian Coppini is the General Manager of Strategy for the financial planning businesses of the Commonwealth Bank, Australia’s largest bank and one of the world’s top 10 banks by market capitalization. Adrian has over twenty years of experience in banking and industry across the U.S., Australia, Asia and Europe while working at A.T.Kearney, Lehman Brothers, Westpac, and the Commonwealth Bank. 

We sat down with him ahead of his presentation at the Strategic Planning Innovation Summit.

What do you think are the main qualities of a successful strategy?

A successful strategy reflects a deep understanding of your business and the external environment and leverages and enhances the core differentiated capabilities of your organisation. A strategy makes clear choices and separates what activities are core versus non-core - it does not try to do everything.

How do you think the role of a strategist is changing?

Strategists need to understand their businesses at a grass roots level. 50,000 feet is not good enough. Hands-on knowledge is a prerequisite to ensuring that you are solving the right problem and that your recommendations will work in the real world.

How important is flexibility when creating new strategies?

Some flexibility is good, especially in an unpredictable environment, but it often comes at an additional cost and drives complexity, which ironically makes you less flexible in the long run.

Have the attitudes of a new generation of workers affected how strategy is formulated or implemented?

Agile processes have become quite common at CBA. All our teams engage in daily huddles to help orchestrate work, analyse results and drive continuous improvement. More of our projects are modular. Workers' expectations have also changed markedly - impacting the working environment and how roles are designed and remunerated.

What can delegates expect from your upcoming presentation at the Strategic Planning Innovation Summit?

Successful executives tend to be really good at getting scarce resources allocated to their businesses. I will be sharing some of what I have learned over the years to formulate good strategy and get good ideas funded.

You can hear more from Adrian, along with other leading senior strategy executives, at the Strategic Planning Innovation Summit, taking place in San Francisco on May 18-19.


Image courtesy of Nils Versemann/

Led lighting small

Read next:

How To Strategically Manage The Dual Game Of Re-Defining And Defending A Business