NAB's private banking boss Irvine named CEO as McEwan announces retirement

NAB's private banking boss Irvine named CEO as McEwan announces retirement

(L-R) Retiring CEO Ros McEwan and his replacement Andrew Irvine 

National Australia Bank (ASX: NAB) has elevated its private banking boss to lead the company after Ross McEwan announced he would be stepping down as CEO in April, ending more than four years in the role.

Andrew Irvine, who has been group executive of business and private banking since 2020, will take the reins on 2 April from McEwan who led NAB through a critical period in the aftermath of the royal commission into banking which wrapped up in 2019.

NAB chair Philip Chronican says Irvine’s 'passion for customer service, success leading Australia’s largest business bank franchise, people leadership, risk management and international experience’ positions him as an appropriate replacement for McEwan. 

“Andrew is well suited to take NAB into its next chapter of growth and performance for our customers, colleagues and the communities we serve,” says Chronican.

“The customer is front and centre for Andrew. He has lifted our business and private banking performance and been a tireless advocate for the agricultural sector, small business and First Nations business. 

“His expertise in digitisation, transformation and modernising has created significant benefits for how our bank operates. He has made work simpler and easier for colleagues by deeply understanding their needs.” 

Irvine, a British-Canadian dual citizen, is a former head of Canadian business banking at the Bank of Montreal, Canada’s oldest bank and one of its largest financial institutions, where he worked for more than 12 years prior to joining NAB. Before that, he worked for McKinsey & Company, Lycos Europe and Credit Agricole.

“This is a humbling decision by the board,” says Irvine.

“I am excited by the opportunity to lead NAB, a bank that is core to the financial needs of so many Australians and New Zealanders.  I have learned a great deal from Ross during his time as CEO.”

Irvine says NAB is ‘on the right trajectory to being a better bank’.

“I will work with my colleagues to continue executing our strategic ambitions,” he says.

“I am very mindful of the responsibility of taking what has been built and continuing to grow our positive impact. This should benefit customers, colleagues and shareholders alike.

“This bank has a tremendous leadership team and colleagues who come to work every day wanting to deliver the best possible services.” 

Chronican paid tribute to McEwan’s leadership since becoming CEO of NAB in December 2019.

“Ross has been exactly the CEO we needed. He came in at a critical time with significant international experience and expertise,” says Chronican.

“He reminded us of the value of getting the basics right, simplification and exceeding customer expectations. It was particularly pleasing that Ross has been able to foster internal talent to enable us to make this appointment from within the bank.”

Chronican describes McEwan as a ‘stabilising force’ for NAB and the industry during his tenure.

McEwan says Irvine, who was chosen as his replacement following a lengthy selection process, is a ‘highly capable, internationally experienced banker who brings the right lens to us wanting to be Australia’s best relationship-driven bank’.

“I have enjoyed the past four-plus years as CEO and the way in which NAB has improved its performance, standing, trust and reputation,” says McEwan.

“I said when I joined NAB that Australians deserved for NAB to be a world-class service provider and we are now closer to that ambition.  I am confident to be leaving the bank’s customers in good hands with Andrew and the team.”

Irvine’s remuneration package comprises a base salary of $2.5 million, including superannuation, plus incentives.

The new CEO will also assume the position of Australian Banking Association chair from McEwan on behalf of NAB to fulfil the two-year tenure accepted by the bank in December 2023.

NAB has yet to chose a replacement for Irvine to lead its business and private banking division.

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