With huge pay packets fast disappearing for the ignominious duo of Andrew Thorburn and Ken Henry at NAB, the former has taken the desperate action of cancelling his preposterously scheduled holidays:
In a statement issued on Tuesday morning, he said he plans to lead the bank’s response to the royal commission “personally and visibly”.
Mr Thorburn’s future has been subject to speculation from analysts and investors since December, when he announced he was going on leave both before and after the release of the Hayne report.
He has cancelled the planned two months’ leave and says he is “more determined than ever to lead NAB with even greater urgency and intensity”.
The Australian injects Evil Anna in a laughable defense:
Earlier, Anna Bligh, the chief executive of the Australian Banking Association, defended the characters of Dr Henry and Mr Thorburn saying they were not “resistors” of change after Commissioner Hayne said he was not confident the pair had learned lessons from the past.
“I think that it’s difficult to form a full view of someone’s character on the basis of one interview but that’s all the Commission process allowed for,” she said on Sky News.
Ms Bligh said she had seen Dr Henry and Mr Thorburn in meetings on a number of occasions where people had to “put their hand up” for reform and said they were some of the first to do so.
A resignation letter is what is required from the disgraced pair. This is not a schoolyard reprimand, the two have just been condemned as useless and worse by the royal commission:
NAB also stands apart from the other three major banks. Having heard from both the CEO, Mr Thorburn, and the Chair, Dr 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. I thought it telling that Dr Henry seemed unwilling to accept any criticism of how the board had dealt with some issues. I thought it telling that Mr Thorburn treated all issues of fees for no service as nothing more than carelessness combined with system deficiencies when the total amount to be repaid by NAB and NULIS on this account is likely to be more than $100 million. I thought it telling that in the very week that NAB’s CEO and Chair were to give evidence before the Commission, one of its staff should be emailing bankers urging them to sell at least five mortgages each before Christmas. Overall, my fear – that there may be a wide gap between the public face NAB seeks to show and what it does in practice – remains.
Close the door on your way out, fellas, via Brett Le Mesurier at Shaw:
The NAB CEO will probably depart this month with the chair retiring later in the year.