NAB chief executive Andrew Thorburn can’t confirm he’ll keep his job
National Australia Bank’s boss Andrew Thorburn is under siege.
- Mr Thorburn controversially announced he would take long-service leave at the same time the bank faced its worst crisis in a decade
- Leading bank analyst Brian Johnson said his future was under a cloud
- NAB leadership copped special criticism in Kenneth Hayne’s final report
Mr Thorburn told The Business he did not know if he would still be in the job by Friday, following the savaging he copped in the royal commission’s final report.
“I can’t confirm that,” Mr Thorburn said.
“But I can tell you that I am more committed and more deeply determined than ever to be a strong leader for our company.”
What was going to be his first day of long-service leave turned out to be the longest day, with back-to-back meetings and phone calls with investors and a media blitz in which he strongly defended his position.
The leadership of NAB copped special criticism in Kenneth Hayne’s final report.
“NAB also stands apart from the other three major banks,” Mr Hayne wrote.
“Having heard from both the CEO, Mr [Andrew] Thorburn, and the chair, Dr [Ken] Henry, I am not as confident as I would wish to be that the lessons of the past have been learned.
“More particularly, I was not persuaded that NAB is willing to accept the necessary responsibility for deciding, for itself, what is the right thing to do, and then having its staff act accordingly.”
Mr Thorburn has been under pressure for months as the bank continues to underperform its rivals, and as he made several missteps which led to him copping a record shareholder vote against his executive’s remuneration.
Mr Thorburn controversially announced he was taking long-service leave while the bank faced its worst crisis in a decade.
Mr Thorburn said he had a plan to regain the trust of his customers and restore the reputation of the bank, but whether that plan was the right one or if he was the right person to execute it remained a question for the board.
Leading bank analyst Brian Johnson from CLSA believed that both men’s futures were under a cloud.
“It’s unheard of to actually get a chairman specifically called out the way that he has,” Mr Johnson said.
“The other board members at NAB will have to think about it, but this is a big issue for NAB and NAB was already struggling before this.”