Pawson was previously regional head of Westpac for south Asia and the Pacific.
Kina chairman Isikeli Taureka thanked Yates for his service of more than 20 years to Kina and to the Papua New Guinean financial sector.
"His achievements have been immense and crowned by the successful IPO of Kina on the ASX and POMSoX in 2015, and the acquisition of Maybank PNG by Kina in the same year. Kina is PNG's first financial institution to be listed on the ASX," Taureka said.
Taureka went on to say that Yates made valuable contributions to the community, particularly in sports administration. He represented Papua New Guinea on several Olympic Games committees.
Taureka said that Pawson took over the leadership in an exciting time for Kina in its next phase of growth, and for the PNG economy with several major resource projects progressing towards project sanction and Papua New Guinea's APEC 2018 Year.