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NAB CEO and chairman to depart

National Australia Bank (NAB) has announced that both its chief executive, Andrew Thorburn, and its chairman, Ken Henry, will leave the bank.

The announcement follows the release of the banking royal commission’s final report earlier this week.

According to a statement released by NAB to the Australian Securities Exchange after the close of trade today, Thorburn will finish with the bank on 28 February, while Henry will remain until a permanent replacement for Thorburn has been appointed.

In the interim, the board has asked current NAB director Philip Chronican to serve as acting chief executive from 1 March and it has begun a global search process for a new chief executive, which will also consider a range of internal candidates.

Commenting on his departure, Thorburn said: “I have had a number of conversations with the chairman this week. I acknowledge that the bank has sustained damage as a result of its past practices and comments in the royal commission’s final report about them.

“As CEO, I understand accountability. I have always sought to act in the best interests of the bank and customers and I know that I have always acted with integrity. However, I recognise there is a desire for change. As a result, I spoke with the board and offered to step down as CEO, and they have accepted my offer.”

Henry also commented on his pending move, saying he and the board recognised change was necessary and the timing of his departure would minimise disruption for customers, employees and shareholders.

“This is naturally a difficult decision, but I believe the board should have the opportunity to appoint a new chair for the next period as NAB seeks to reset its culture and ensure all decisions are made on behalf of customers,” he said.

“I am enormously proud of what the bank has achieved and equally disappointed about what the royal commission has brought to light in areas where we have not met customer expectations.

“Andrew and I are deeply sorry for this. 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.”

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