ANZ CEO Mike Smith becomes LinkedIn global influencer

ANZ CEO Mike Smith becomes LinkedIn global influencer

ANZ chief executive Mike Smith has put his social media scepticism behind him and joined LinkedIn's global influencer programme.

Smith is Australia's first CEO to participate in the programme, joining the likes of JP Morgan boss Jamie Dimon and PayPal president David Marcus, as well as Bill Gates and Barack Obama.

According to Financial Review, Smith had been sceptical about the value of social media until a trip to Silicon Valley in May to meet people from the likes of LinkedIn, Google and Apple.

"To me it had a nuisance value and I did not truly appreciate what the network could offer. I suppose you could say I had a Road to Damascus conversion," he told the paper.

By March, LinkedIn had more than 200 million users worldwide, with four million in Australia, a 300% rise since 2010. Financial services made it to number two in the company's top four industries down under, just behind the information technology and services sector.

Yesterday the firm reported a 59% rise in second quarter revenues to $363.7 million, with net income up to $3.7 million.

Since opening up access to LinkedIn to ANZ staff, 23,000 have joined, providing a potentially useful channel for internal and external communications, says Smith.

ANZ has not been averse to using social media in the past: in 2010 it was forced to investigate allegations that members of its debt collection department set up a fake Facebook profile in order to befriend customers with bad credit and track down their current contact details.

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