Phil Chronican has officially started his new role as acting chief executive at National Australia Bank and has already declared his top priorities to his business leaders.
In a note sent to his top 100 leaders last week, Mr Chronican told the business his views on the royal commission and what NABs next steps needed to be.
“The royal commission is right. There is a big gap between where we are today, and where our customers, shareholders and the community expect us to be,” he said.
Mr Chronican, who has taken over from Andrew Thorburn after the latter resigned, made it clear that customer remediation would be his top priority.
“I am focused on making sure we compensate customers as quickly as possible; and on fixing the issues that caused the failure.”
Mr Chronican said that the leaders needed to come together to enact this change but it needed to start with the top.
“The enormity of the challenge ahead is not lost on any of us. But through the accelerated One NAB Plan and our self-assessment, I’m confident we have a clear path forward and a road map to deliver meaningful change,” he said.
Mr Chronican cancelled two leadership events, one for the bank’s top 600 leaders and one for the top 100 leaders to ensure that the focus was on customers.
“We are the bank’s most senior leaders: we need to run the bank – and we need to change it.
“We need to own this. It starts and stops with us.”
Mr Chronican said that NAB had to ensure that a customer’s experience with the bank was exceptional and uncompromising.
“We need to bring the same obsession to customer outcomes that airline companies do to safety. We must deliver an exceptional experience, ensure our products and services provide fair value, and be uncompromising on accountability, quality and standards.”
NAB employees are already doing great work everyday, said Mr Chronican, and many of the frontline works embody the bank that customers deserve.
“It’s clear our people do great work every day: serving customers, finding solutions, fixing issues and paying back customers what they are owed. In many ways, they embody the NAB we want to be,” he said.
Mr Chronican also thanked the outgoing Mr Thorburn on his role at the bank and said he had contributed in a substantial way to the bank.
“Andrew led a major transformation of our bank, divesting legacy assets and focusing on our core business.
“He was also deeply committed to making NAB a better bank for customers,” Mr Chronican said.
Mr Thorburn resigned shortly after Commissioner Hayne’s final report when the chief executive was singled out by the commissioner for his behaviour.
Chairman of NAB Ken Henry also resigned at the same time but is currently still on the board.
Mr Chronican is currently only acting chief executive with a global search underway for the permanent position.
Eliot Hastie is a journalist at Momentum Media, writing primarily for its wealth and financial services platforms.
Eliot joined the team in 2018 having previously written on Real Estate Business with Momentum Media as well.
Eliot graduated from the University of Westminster, UK with a Bachelor of Arts (Journalism).
You can email him on: [email protected]
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