NAB in turmoil as chairman and CEO fall on their swords

NAB in turmoil as chairman and CEO fall on their swords

National Australia Bank has been thrown into turmoil by the joint resignation of chairman Ken Henry and CEO Andrew Thorburn following a blistering critique from a royal commission report into banking culture at the country's largest banks.

While none of the banks emerged from the inquiry smelling of roses, NAB was singled out for stinging criticism for consistently failing to give a fair deal to customers, typified by behaviour at its wealth management arm which had levied $100 million in fees but failed to deliver any services in return.

Henry's resignation came as no surprise after he endured sustained disparagement following a televised appearance in which was castigated for a "contemptuous" response to the Commission's report.

Thorburn, by contrast, received the backing of the Board earlier this week but has been forced to step down as ongoing investigations into large-scale fraud by his former chief of staff portrayed a culture of extravagant and lavish spending in his executive office.

In a statement, Thorburn says: “As CEO, I understand accountability. I have always sought to act in the best interests of the bank and customers and I know that I have always acted with integrity. However, I recognise there is a desire for change. As a result, I spoke with the Board and offered to step down as CEO, and they have accepted my offer.

The Board has asked Philip Chronican, a current NAB Director with extensive domestic banking experience, to serve as acting CEO until a permanent appointment is made.

The Board says it will initiate a global search process for the CEO role while actively considering a range of internal candidates.

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