MEET the Bank of Queensland’s (BOQ) new million dollar man.

The man appointed to replace David Liddy as chief executive at BOQ is confident that Australia and its banking system can continue to weather any global economic impacts.

Stuart Grimshaw (pictured) will sign on for a base annual salary of $1.25 million (with bonus incentives) when he becomes CEO on November 1.

Grimshaw told Brisbane Business News that he had big shoes to fill when he replaces the long-serving Liddy, who has been MD and CEO since 2001 and will return to Sydney for family reasons.

“David has such great knowledge, so hopefully I can add some value,” says Grimshaw, a former non-executive director of Suncorp-Metway and CEO of Caledonia Investments and NAB.

“I will be listening to people and talking to as many people as possible. I’ve always grown up working with teams and believe team work is the key; it’s a trait that goes beyond the sporting field.”

Grimshaw is president of Hockey Australia and director of Melbourne Football Club. Born in New Zealand, he was a talented hockey player and represented New Zealand in the Olympic Games.

In the banking arena he has held a wide variety of roles across banking and finance in a career spanning almost 30 years. Grimshaw joined Caledonia Investments in 2009 to assist in the growth and development of the group through a challenging external environment. Caledonia currently manages around $2 billion for more than 400 investors.

Prior to joining Caledonia, he spent seven years leading a variety of functions at Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA). Initially joining the Bank as CFO in 2001, he was appointed group executive of Investment and Insurance Services in 2002.

Over the next four years, he led the integration of Colonial First State in to CBA and the consolidation of the IIS division which was renamed Wealth Management. Prior to joining CBA, Grimshaw spent a decade with National Australia Bank Limited (NAB), where he finished as Chief Executive Officer – Great Britain.

He says he was drawn to BOQ due to its ‘challenger brand’ and believes it’s a company with exciting prospects.

“I have followed BOQ’s growth story and it is well positioned to become a genuine competitor in the Australian financial services landscape. I look forward to joining the Bank in November and helping take BOQ to the next stage in its growth trajectory,” he says.

Grimshaw has challenges afoot. BOQ net profits crashed by 41 per cent to $57.6 million for the first half of FY11, a result of bad debts. The result was in line with guidance provided to the market earlier this year.

But he says as Brisbane rebuilds the economy will continue to be stimulated and is confident that BOQ can capitalise on the state’s growth prospects – the highest in the country behind WA.

“One of our great strengths is the Australian financial system – one of the strongest in the world. We have shown that over the last few years, while internationally others have shown signs of fragility,” he says.

BOQ chairman Neil Summerson, says Grimshaw brings an extensive record of achievement in Australian financial services.

"He has demonstrated outstanding skills and capability in financial services, having held executive positions at two of our country’s largest banks, Commonwealth Bank and National Australia Bank, as well as a non-executive director role at our regional peer, Suncorp,” says Summerson.

“He has worked across all facets of the finance industry, including most recently as CEO of Caledonia Investments, which manages approximately $2 billion for more than 400 investors. With his diverse background and impressive track record, the Board is confident he has the skills and experience we need.”

Summerson also paid tribute to Liddy’s contribution to BOQ.

"The Board would like to thank Mr Liddy for more than ten years of exceptional leadership,” he says.

“His tenure at BOQ will be remembered for the quantum leap he achieved in terms of the growth of the Bank, not just internally through the introduction of the owner-managed branch model, but also through the successful integration of six strategic acquisitions and growth in size and profitability of BOQ over the past 10 years.

“Mr Liddy has also effected a massive cultural change at BOQ, transforming a small regional bank in to a true challenger brand, with a culture of innovation, integrity, passion, teamwork and achievement. He has created an organisation with a reputation for delivering for shareholders, with a vastly improved cost-to-income ratio and an unwavering focus on constant improvement.

"And he has been a true leader in every sense of the word, which was particularly crucial during the Global Financial Crisis. The Board would like to wish him all the best for the future.”

Liddy will finish at the bank at the end of BOQ’s financial year on August 31. Chief Operating Officer Ram Kangatharan, will take on the role of acting CEO from September 1 to November 1.

“I have enjoyed my 10 years at BOQ immensely and am exceptionally proud of the team we have here and what we have achieved. I look forward to following BOQ’s progress, as I enter the next stage of my career,” says Liddy.

Shares (ASX:BOQ) are slightly up after today’s announcement, trading at $7.23.

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