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NAB announces change of CEO

The big four bank has revealed that it will welcome a new group chief executive on 2 April.

Andrew Irvine has been named as the next group CEO of National Australia Bank, replacing Ross McEwan, who will retire from executive roles.

Mr Irvine, who has been NAB’s group executive business and private banking since 2020, will succeed Mr McEwan on 2 April 2024.

He will also assume the position of Australian Banking Association chair from Mr McEwan on behalf of NAB, which accepted chair bank responsibilities for two years from December 2023.

Prior to joining NAB, Mr Irvine was the head of Canadian business banking at the Bank of Montreal (BMO), one of its largest financial institutions.

He held a range of roles at BMO over more than 12 years and previously worked for McKinsey & Company, Lycos Europe, and Credit Agricole.

NAB chair Philip Chronican noted several “key strengths” that the incoming CEO held that made him right for the role, including “passion for customer service, success leading Australia’s largest business bank franchise, people leadership, risk management and international experience”.

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“Andrew is well suited to take NAB into its next chapter of growth and performance for our customers, colleagues and the communities we serve,” Mr Chronican said.

“The customer is front and centre for Andrew. He has lifted our business and private banking performance and been a tireless advocate for the agricultural sector, small business and First Nations business.

“His expertise in digitisation, transformation and modernising has created significant benefits for how our bank operates. He has made work simpler and easier for colleagues by deeply understanding their needs.”

Mr Irvine said: “This is a humbling decision by the board. I am excited by the opportunity to lead NAB, a bank that is core to the financial needs of so many Australians and New Zealanders.

“I have learned a great deal from Ross during his time as CEO. NAB is on the right trajectory to being a better bank and I will work with my colleagues to continue executing our strategic ambitions.

“I am very mindful of the responsibility of taking what has been built and continuing to grow our positive impact. This should benefit customers, colleagues and shareholders alike.

“This bank has a tremendous leadership team and colleagues who come to work every day wanting to deliver the best possible services.”

Mr Chronican paid tribute to Mr McEwan, who joined NAB in December 2019 with a mandate for change in the wake of the royal commission.

“Ross has been exactly the CEO we needed. He came in at a critical time with significant international experience and expertise,” he said.

“He reminded us of the value of getting the basics right, simplification and exceeding customer expectations. It was particularly pleasing that Ross has been able to foster internal talent to enable us to make this appointment from within the bank.

“He has rightly been recognised as a tremendous and reliable career banker. He has been a stabilising force for NAB and the industry and we wish him well for the future.”

Mr McEwan said he was delighted to see Mr Irvine announced as CEO after a lengthy assessment process.

“Andrew is a highly capable, internationally experienced banker who brings the right lens to us wanting to be Australia’s best relationship-driven bank,” he said.

“I have enjoyed the past four-plus years as CEO and the way in which NAB has improved its performance, standing, trust and reputation. I said when I joined NAB that Australians deserved for NAB to be a world-class service provider and we are now closer to that ambition.

“I am confident to be leaving the bank’s customers in good hands with Andrew and the team.”

A new group executive business and private banking will be selected in due course.

[Related: Ross McEwan appointed chair of ABA]

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