Peter Overton, Nine News Sydney: The banking Royal Commission has just claimed its first scalps, with news breaking that National Australia Bank boss Andrew Thorburn and Chairman Ken Henry are stepping down.
Nine’s finance editor Ross Greenwood joins me from the city –
Ross, why have they quit?
Ross Greenwood: Yes, well this is big and dramatic news, there is no doubt Peter.
The reason they are quitting is because of the harsh criticism of them personally in the Hayne Royal Commission Final Report.
Kenneth Hayne QC said “having heard from both the Chief executive Mr Thorburn and chair, Dr Henry, I am not confident, as I wish to be, that the lesson of the past have been learned. I am not persuaded NAB is willing to accept the necessary responsibility for deciding what is the right thing to do”
As chairman and chief executive,
that criticism is could not have been more damning.
Although they were prepared to try to guts it out.
I did speak with Andrew Thorburn two days ago whether he had offered to stand down. He is what he told me…
Andrew Thorburn, Former CEO NAB: No they did not. I think we’ve got the right team, the quality of our leadership group is, Ross, I think has never been higher.
Overton: Ross, clearly this was not their plan. Why have things changed so rapidly?
Greenwood: In short, I believe its both political and shareholder pressure that has brought to bare upon the chairman and chief executive.
Already in just December you had 80- percent vote against the remuneration report. If there is a similar vote this year by the shareholders, the board could have been forced to stand down.
In the meantime, the Former ANZ and Westpac executive Phil Chronican, on the NAB board, will take over as the interim chief executive from the end of this month.