NAB gets new CTO, and former NSW Premier Baird

The bank has announced three new appointments to its NAB Group Executive Leadership Team, including a new CTO and former NSW Premier Mike Baird as chief customer officer.
Written by Asha Barbaschow, Contributor

The National Australia Bank (NAB) has announced the appointment of three executives on Tuesday, which includes former New South Wales Premier Mike Baird.

Baird will join the bank in the capacity of chief customer officer, Corporate & Institutional Banking, after announcing his retirement from politics in January.

Joining Baird at NAB is Patrick Wright, who leaves his tenure as global chief Operations & Technology at Barclays in the United States to become NAB's new chief technology officer, after an organisational shuffle saw Bob Melrose acting in the role since July.

Responsible for leading a team of 15,000 people at Barclaycard, Wright comes to NAB with experience in driving major transformations in large financial services companies, which NAB Group CEO Andrew Thorburn said includes the ability to innovate in fast-paced, competitive, and highly-regulated markets.

"As we reshape our business, Patrick will lead our simplification, digitisation, and automation agenda to deliver greater efficiency and create a simpler and easier experience for our customers and bankers," Thorburn said of Wright's appointment.

Sharon Cook will join both Baird and Wright at NAB in a newly formed role of chief legal and commercial counsel, leaving her current position as managing partner with King & Wood Mallesons to join the bank in Sydney.

"Mike, Sharon, and Patrick each bring to NAB exceptional track records of performance and delivery and will help accelerate the execution of our strategy so we can deliver for our customers and our shareholders," Thorburn added.

"They are also authentic, inspiring, and passionate leaders whose values align with NAB's values and our ambition to be Australia and New Zealand's most respected bank."

Subject to regulatory approval, NAB said Wright will start with the bank in mid-May after he relocates from the US. Baird and Cook will join NAB in mid-April.

In August, NAB reshuffled its organisational structure and management team, which it said was in order to create a "simpler, more customer-focused" organisation.

At the time, Thorburn said the changes were part of the bank's "next stage of organisational change", given it has been two years since the team started addressing legacy issues.

"These changes will bring greater momentum and energy to NAB's goal of creating a simpler, more customer-focused organisation that delivers better outcomes for customers as well as shareholder returns," he said previously.

"We have had a very clear plan over the last two years, and have taken the action required to execute that plan. We have made progress, our customers are noticing the positive changes, and our staff engagement score is the highest it has ever been, but we need to do better. This new organisational structure will enable us to continue the pace of change while providing greater clarity for our customers and our people."

Earlier this month, former Queensland Premier Anna Bligh was appointed as the new chief executive officer of the Australian Bankers' Association, an organisation chaired by NAB's Thorburn.

"Anna's focus will firmly be on the culture within banking and lifting respect for our profession; creating a strong vision for customers and on how our industry responds and leads on regulatory reform," Thorburn said of the former premier's appointment.

For the 2016 financial year, NAB reported a 94.4 percent statutory profit slump to AU$352 million, citing technology investments as a main contributing factor.

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