Investors have welcomed NAB’s appointment of Philip Chronican as chairman by driving the lender’s shares to a fresh four-month high.
The NAB board unanimously voted to give its interim CEO the task of replacing Ken Henry later this year in one of the lender’s first major steps in rebuilding its reputation following its royal commission mauling.
NAB shares were the best performing among the big four banks on Thursday, outpacing their rivals and the financial sector as a whole.
At 1400 AEDT, they were 1.1 per cent higher at $25.74.
CBA was the only other major lender in the black, with Westpac down 0.18 per cent, ANZ down 0.72 per cent, and the ASX200 financials largely flat.
NAB shares have drifted higher in the month since Dr Henry and chief executive Andrew Thorburn resigned, and had risen for six straight sessions ahead of Thursday’s market open.
Mr Chronican’s appointment as chair was announced on Wednesday and he immediately said that “much needs to change in a meaningful way” at a lender that was roundly criticised by Kenneth Hayne’s final royal commission report, which could suggest the bank will look outside for a new chief executive.
The extent of Commissioner Hayne’s criticism could also mean NAB may not want to make internal appointments to both its most senior roles.
“Much needs to change in a meaningful way at our bank,” Mr Chronican said.
“We have unfortunately been found wanting in too many areas when it comes to our customers, and I am determined to ensure that change happens to ensure we meet and exceed their expectations.”
Dr Henry and chief executive Andrew Thorburn tried to ride things out after the royal commission report released on February 4 singled NAB out as the worst offender of the big four banks and hit out at its executive team for not learning lessons.
Both announced their intention to resign three days later.
Mr Chronican only started in his role as interim CEO on Friday, but told the board he didn’t want to be considered for the role on a permanent basis.
That leaves former NSW premier Mike Baird, the bank’s head of retail, as a leading internal candidate, although many believe he has not been with NAB long enough to get the top job this time around.