NAB chief executive Andrew Thorburn holds an interview during an emergency board meeting in Melbourne on Tuesday. Picture: Stuart McEvoy
NAB chief executive Andrew Thorburn holds an interview during an emergency board meeting in Melbourne on Tuesday. Picture: Stuart McEvoy

Ex-NSW Premier Mike Baird in box seat for top NAB job

HE GOT the premier's job after Barry O'Farrell came a cropper with a bottle of undeclared Grange, now Teflon Mike Baird is in a box seat to take over at NAB after his boss got a roasting from royal commissioner Kenneth Hayne.

Hayne in his final report released on Monday singled out NAB boss Andrew Thorburn and chairman Ken Henry for arrogance over wrongdoing.

Mr Baird is chief customer officer of the retail bank and along with Angela Mentis, who runs NAB's New Zealand operations, is considered a future contender for the top job.

Former premier Mike Baird at his Curl Curl home on Tuesday morning before heading off to work as chief customer officer at NAB. Picture: John Grainger
Former premier Mike Baird at his Curl Curl home on Tuesday morning before heading off to work as chief customer officer at NAB. Picture: John Grainger


Approached by The Daily Telegraph outside his home on Tuesday morning, Mr Baird laughed at suggestions he could take over.

"Let me just get up to speed on everything," he said.

The NAB board met in Sydney on Tuesday but the bank would not confirm whether the future of Mr Thorburn and Mr Henry was discussed.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Tuesday stopped short of calling for Mr Thorburn and Mr Henry to resign but said they should consider their ­futures at the bank after Mr Hayne called out their hubris and failure to show they knew what the right thing to do was.

Mr Baird heads off to the office on Tuesday. Picture: John Grainger
Mr Baird heads off to the office on Tuesday. Picture: John Grainger

Mr Baird met Mr Thorburn at St Matthew's church in Manly 17 years ago and while they no longer share the same congregation the spiritual faith for both runs deep.

Mr Thorburn, who has a $4.3 million pay packet, has just returned from an unusu­ally long holiday which he spent fishing in New Zealand and on Tuesday cancelled another month of planned leave.

The long break has led to speculation that Mr Thorburn's head is on the chopping block.

But he came out punching on Tuesday, defending his right to take leave and saying he was determined to stay.

"I respect the commissioner's view … but I don't share it," Mr Thorburn said.

"I feel the way he's describing me is the polar opposite of what I want to be and what I am and the sort of change I am leading inside the company."Mr Henry said: "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."



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