Desperate times: NAB CEO cancels holiday!!!

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.


  1. “phew, I’m not going to jail, so I won’t need that “family time”. And I’ve still got my job, so no worries”

  2. I wonder if his travel insurance contains an exclusion, such as:

    When We will not pay
    We will not pay for interruption to or cancellation of your planned travel due to:

    5. A Royal Commision or other legal enquiry (however named or constituted) delivering a report beating on your wh!te ass, where such beating was the reasonably foreseeable outcome of you or your employer treating customers like sh!t and/or acting like scumbags generally.

  3. “condemned as useless and worse”
    I don’t think the shareholders/board of NAB would agree, and they are the ones with the power to make the actual decisions after all. No one in power actually cares what the RC thinks, as history shall prove.

  4. proofreadersMEMBER

    Mike Baird come on down and try that CEO chair for comfort. He played a great game exiting politics with perfect timing and picking his next employer.

  5. …. and a disappointing 7 or 8 figure payout …… might have to fly first class instead of buying the private jet

  6. Ignominious. Adj. Deserving shame or disgrace. Despicable.

    Yep. Good choice of word, that. I’d add “contemptible”. And perhaps “reviled”. How about “grubs”? Or “worthless mongrels”?

  7. John Howards Bowling Coach

    Ken Henry is confused as to his position. He felt that he was actually the PM when he was a public servant and now thinks he is god. It’s telling that God is just a figment of imagination because Dr Henry will need to imagine a future of work, as there will not be one. He is done, only he can’t accept see it yet. If there are no criminal charges from this Financial Sector RC there will be pitchforks at the upcoming election, the people are getting angrier although for their own selfish reasons. Their fake property wealth is going fast and the voters will blame everyone but themselves for it. The banksters are going to be flamed with the pollies and any pollie worth their salt will be throwing all the banksters under the bus starting immediately to try to look like they are the public defender.

    • “any pollie worth their salt will be throwing all the banksters under the bus starting immediately to try to look like they are the public defender.”
      And we reckon the bankers don’t know most of their financial secret? At the very least most pollies – or their families – need a mortgage! Don’t bite the hand that feeds you etc….

    • What’s the difference between Ken Henry and God? God doesn’t walk down the street thinking he’s Ken Henry.

      • Stone the Crows

        Ken Henry is so awesome he can build a new Utopia in a couple of hours on a lazy Sunday afternoon.

        God needed all week and was so stuffed he needed Sunday off.

        Chuck Norris would be proud.

      • He could definitely write a new series of Utopia in a couple of hours. Being a lifetime public servant makes him well qualified.

  8. proofreadersMEMBER

    Normal transmission resumed – bank share prices to the moon. Corruption lives to fight another day, moth, year, decade …?

  9. “NAB also stands apart from the other three major banks.”
    I don’t know about this, could any reasonable person (not splitting hairs) separate the whole, sad lot of them? The cynic in me says this bit seems to be a pissing contest between Hayne and Henry. He should have cowered shamefully before the mighty lawyers and the tomato throwing public like the others. Instead he acted like he was the child of a billionaire facing court after crashing the Ferrari while speeding and drunk, scoffing his way at perfectly reasonable questions revealing the whole messy charade. The elite get treated better for their crimes than the rest of us would.

    The whole thing is theatre (quite enjoyable and useful for some) but will sadly be forgotten quite soon. NAB should start making political donations again?

  10. Australia is too corrupt to do anything about fixing corruption.

    There is no more exciting time to wish that you were french

    • Jumping jack flash

      There’s still enough debt around so the people aren’t hungry enough to do anything.

      Old Josh Frydenburger is right – we need the constant stream of cheap debt to spend because there’s not really anything else left to use.

      • Australia is a nation of sheep ruled by wolves.

        I think if Australians only concern about corruption is OK as long as they’re not hungry, then they deserve to be poor and hungry.

        My ear is almost deaf from hearing millions of times about deporting bad people or terrorists. But I almost hear crickets now.

        Don’t preach about values and immigrants assimilation to the culture if this is what you are after.

  11. Jumping jack flash

    Cancelled holiday!?
    Oh, the humanity!

    But I’m pretty sure that the regulators will probably count that cancelled holiday as sufficient penalty for all the infringements. Even those of the other banks:
    “CBA, you charged dead people for services they never received? Bad! Bad, bad!
    But… I see here that the NAB CEO did cancel their holiday, so in respect to that I think that if you promise never to do it again we can forget the whole silly thing and move on”

  12. If I break the Law am I charged post haste, any infraction, no matter how small… I am swiftly dealt with. It’s beyond corruption when no one within the Banking industry will ever spend time in gaol for the pain the tax payer will soon no doubt experience via the coming housing crash / recession. The government was never going to allow the Banks to be held account in any meaningful manner because that would be the catalyst for the recession we have to have. The Bankers must be pissing themselves laughing…untouchables! The 6%+ SP rise for the big 4 banks on the ASX this morning only reinforces the impunity they operate under. The much awaited RC into Banking finishes with popping corks, quaffing Grange to wash down to Foie gras canapé toasting the tax payer for taking in the ass.

    • John Howards Bowling Coach

      +1 million. How bold faced can you be? To dance from the ‘workers party’ to be the Banksters PR mouthpiece, fronting the media with fake sorrow and contrition with your facelift unable to produce any emotion.

  13. greedypuppyMEMBER

    Henry speaks ….(courtesy of the Guardian) In the same statement, Henry disagreed with Hayne’s description of his attitude: “In his final report, commissioner Hayne said I seemed unwilling to accept criticism of how the board had dealt with some of the issues raised by the commission. “I am disappointed that the commissioner formed this view. I know that it is not so. The board and I have reflected deeply on those and other issues and, as I have said previously, we take them very seriously.

  14. proofreadersMEMBER

    First agenda item on bank board meetings next month – an increase in directors’ fees and in executive bonuses, as they’re going to have to act a bit more responsibly going forward and that obviously takes more time than the status quo?

  15. Know someone who used to work at NAB, was relieved to get the payout and go, but Thorburn asked for a brief assessment of the place before he left. Was pretty blunt with what he thought and Thorburn was “thanks, but I don’t see it that way”. Interesting talking about some of the other executives there, some really weird operators at the upper echelons of these banks.