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The National Australia Bank's (NAB) board of directors announced that the current director and interim group chief executive officer, Philip Chronican, is to be the next chairman of NAB.
Mr Chronican’s appointment was unanimously supported by directors at a scheduled board meeting in Melbourne.
He will replace Ken Henry AC as chairman “later in 2019”.
Speaking of the news, NAB director David Armstrong, who led the committee recommending the new chairman, said Mr Chronican’s experience and knowledge of the challenges and opportunities facing NAB made him an ideal and obvious candidate.
“Phil has been an outstanding director for NAB and has a deep, extensive background in Australian financial services.
“Phil told the board that he did not intend to be considered as a candidate for the CEO role, enabling us to move quickly to appoint him as chairman,” Mr Armstrong said.
“We considered a range of internal and external candidates and Phil was simply the most outstanding candidate. This will provide certainty to the market and our shareholders and will simplify the search and recruitment process for a new CEO.”
Mr Armstrong thanked Mr Henry for his “leadership while chairman and during his time on the board”.
“Ken has made a significant contribution to NAB and corporate Australia, just as he did during his distinguished career as a senior public servant,” he said.
Mr Chronican, who commenced in the role of group CEO on 1 March 2019 and has been a NAB director since May 2016, said he was privileged to be succeeding Dr Henry as chairman during “a critical period for the bank and broader industry”.
“Much needs to change in a meaningful way at our bank. We have unfortunately been found wanting in too many areas when it comes to our customers, and I am determined to ensure that change happens to ensure we meet and exceed their expectations,” Mr Chronican said.
The incoming NAB chairman has previously been the chairman of the board’s risk committee and a member of the remuneration committee. He was also a director of BNZ (a subsidiary of NAB).
With more than 35 years of experience in banking and finance in Australia and New Zealand, Mr Chronican has also previously held roles at ANZ, with specific responsibility for ANZ's retail and commercial businesses, had a long career at Westpac (including chief financial officer) and is currently a director of NSW Treasury Corporation (TCorp) and The Westmead Institute for Medical Research (chairman).
Outgoing chairman Dr Henry commented: “I have found Phil to be a thoroughly valuable director and he will make an excellent chairman.
“I wish him and the board well for the future once he assumes the position.”
[Related: Major bank chairman and CEO step down]