Did we see a new chair of the ANZ Banking Group put in place across the Tasman for promotion in 2018 or 2019?
The ANZ announced Wednesday that former Kiwi PM, John Key would become chair of its New Zealand banking operations in early 2018. He has been appointed to the ANZ NZ board now and will then become chair next January when the incumbent, John Judge retires.
Now this is only the chair’s role for New Zealand, but that should not prevent him moving to Melbourne.
After all, Kiwis virtually run the Australian banking system at the moment so there is no barrier to John Key replacing current chair, David Gonski at the country’s third biggest bank.
The ANZ itself has a Kiwi CEO in Shayne Elliott, Andrew Thorburn from the NAB is another Kiwi, as is Ian Narev at the Commonwealth, though his time is up. His predecessor at the CBA was another Kiwi in Ralph Norris. A Scott ran the ANZ for a while and an American ran Westpac in the 1990’s and a Brit also ran the ANZ and another ran the NAB.
And Key would be perhaps the best fit for a chair in Australian banking – after all it’s his profession. Key started his career in banking and finance in New Zealand before heading overseas where he became head of global foreign exchange with Merrill Lynch. He was also a member of the Foreign Exchange Committee of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
And running NZ for years would gve him the one thing that Australian bank CEOs and chairs lack – an instinctive understanding of the political process on both sides of the Tasman and how pollies think.
ANZ shares finished at $30.34, up 0.16%.