'We've Got An Absolute Mountain To Climb': NAB Boss
Outgoing NAB chairman Ken Henry has relived his brusque performance on the stand at the banking royal commission more times than he can express.
“I really wish I had performed much better. I certainly do," Dr Henry told a media call on Thursday night after announcing his resignation from the bank.
“I’m quite upset about that."
But the former head of Treasury believes the appearance was just one element of royal commissioner Kenneth Hayne's decision to single out NAB in his final report, made public on Monday.
On the report's fateful page 411, Commissioner Hayne expressed serious concerns about the leadership of Dr Henry and NAB chief executive Andrew Thorburn, who also resigned on Thursday.
"Overall, my fear - that there may be a wide gap between the public face NAB seeks to show and what it does in practice - remains," Commissioner Hayne said.
Dr Henry says the comments prompted an intense two days of reflection for himself and Mr Thorburn.
"We’ve come to this landing together," he said of their decisions to leave NAB.
“I’m sad to be leaving NAB in these circumstances but it is absolutely the right thing to do. It just gives NAB an opportunity to reset.”
Dr Henry had been NAB's chairman since 2015 and said he does believe the bank is in a better shape today than when he joined its ranks.
But he is under no illusions of how much further it has to go to meet community and customer expectations.
"We are not much closer yet," he told ABC's 730.
"There is a big gap. The gap as I see it is that NAB does aspire to do the right thing by every customer, every time and everywhere. And we're a long way from that.
"We've got an absolute mountain to climb in NAB in order to achieve our aspiration for the bank."
Mr Thorburn will finish at NAB on February 28, while Dr Henry indicated he would retire from the board once a new permanent CEO had been appointed.
Philip Chronican, a current NAB director with extensive domestic banking experience, will serve as acting CEO from March 1 until a permanent appointment is made.
Featured Image: AAP.