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Sir Ralph's life in IT honoured

Published: 9:10AM Thursday May 03, 2012 Source: ONE News

An illustrious businessman who started out as a computer programmer in the late sixties has been honoured for his lifetime contribution to the information technology sector.

Sir Ralph Norris, was awarded with a CIO Lifetime Contribution Award at a ceremony in Auckland last night.

Sir Ralph, who cut his teeth as a computer programmer at ASB in 1969, told TV ONE's Breakfast he got involved when the industry was in its infancy.

"It was very early days - and I had the opportunity to be on the ground floor", he said.

"I was involved with the development of online banking systems, the launch of ATMs in New Zealand back in 1980, the development of eftpos in the 80s and also internet banking in the 90s."

Sir Ralph said the span of time he was in the IT industry was an "interesting period" and a great time to be involved.

But he still sees big changes for the future of banking.

"Obviously with tablet devices and smartphones and the like, we're seeing banking become much more mobile .. I think we'll see over the next 5 to 10 years some really interesting technology."

A self-proclaimed techie at heart, Sir Ralph made waves in the banking IT world by helping launch BankDirect, the first online bank in New Zealand.

In 2002 he accepted the position of CEO at Air New Zealand, until his appointment as CEO and managing director of the Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) in 2005 and retirement six years later. CBA is the parent company of ASB.

Last year he agreed to join the board of Fonterra and also Origin Energy in Australia.

Sir Ralph told Breakfast he has retired twice, and though he cannot promise it is his final time, he thinks it is his "final swan song".