National Australia Bank CEO, chair resign after scathing inquiry

The decision ends a long and stellar banking career for Thorburn that peaked with his appointment as NAB CEO in 2014

One paragraph tucked away toward the back of volume one of Mr Hayne's report sealed the fate of the National Australia Bank's chairman and chief executive - ending months of speculation that at least one of them would have to go following their performance at the royal commission.

'I acknowledge the bank has sustained damage as a result of its past practices and comments in the royal commission's final report about them, ' Mr Thorburn said in a statement to the Australian Securities Exchange. "My decision is not made in reaction to any specific event, but more broadly looking at the bank's needs in coming months and years", Dr Henry said in NAB's statement to the ASX after trading closed on Thursday.

Sydney Morning Herald journalist Bevan Shields tweeted: "NAB boss Andrew Thorburn effectively says in a call just now that he was sacked by the board and didn't voluntarily resign".

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.

"As CEO, I understand accountability".

Mr Chronican said it had been an "extraordinarily hard week for everyone involved", but the board would now launch a global search for a chief executive.

I thought it telling that Mr Thorburn treated all issues of fees for no service as nothing more than carelessness combined with system deficiencies when the total amount to be repaid by NAB and NULIS on this account is likely to be more than $100 million.

"The gap as I see it is NAB does aspire to do the right thing by every customer every time and everywhere".

Henry said he was proud of what the bank had achieved and equally disappointed about what the Royal Commission has brought to light in areas where the bank had not met customer expectations.

Dr Henry said he and the board had recognised that change was necessary, saying his departure would allow the bank to "reset its culture".

In a separate announcement, NAB revealed it had made a net profit of $1.7bn in the first quarter of 2019, with cash earnings down 3% compared with the first quarter previous year.

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten said the resignation's would not assuage public anger at the banks and pledged to push for an accelerated response to the commission's 76 final recommendations. They want real change to cut the rot out of our banks.

One said there was only one option for the position, given Mr Chronican is "one of the most trusted" bankers in the country. "The Liberals will do nothing more than look after their mates at the top end of town".

"The other board directors should take a hard look at themselves", Mr Kolesnikoff said.

Shareholders started it past year when they rejected Ken Henry's remuneration plan by an astounding 88% majority. "There are other people including in management who have tarnished the bank".

Governance expert Dean Paatsch, who is chief executive of proxy advisory house Ownership Matters, said the resignations were inevitable.

Bank analyst Brett Le Mesurier said there was a very big task ahead for Mr Chronican.

"It was excruciating to watch over the past few days but the right decision was made for them by the board".

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