NAB chief gets A$1m golden handshake as he exits the bank

Pedro Gonçalves
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NAB chief gets A$1m golden handshake as he exits the bank

Former NAB chief executive Andrew Thorburn will receive a A$1m payout for his early departure from the bank. Thorburn quit his post earlier this month alongside chair Ken Henry after both men were shamed by commissioner Kenneth Hayne's scathing final report.

As the fallout from Australia's royal commission report reverberates through the industry, NAB said: "In accordance with his contractual entitlements, Mr Thorburn will receive payment of $1,041,449 in lieu of 26 weeks' notice, along with accrued leave entitlements."

"All Mr Thorburn's unvested deferred awards will be forfeited in accordance with plan rules," NAB said. That means he will miss out on A$20m in unvested payouts. In the year to September 2018, Thorburn was paid A$4.3m.

I acknowledge the bank has sustained damage as a result of its past practices and comments in the royal commission's final report about them"

Upon his departure, non-executive director Philip Chronican will commence as acting chief executive and will receive a fixed fee of A$150,000 a month until such time as a permanent replacement is appointed.

Both Thorburn and chairman Henry had been under intense scrutiny after Commissioner Hayne wrote in his final report he was not confident they had learnt any lessons from the landmark inquiry into the banking sector.

"More particularly, I was not persuaded that NAB is willing to accept the necessary responsibility for deciding, for itself, what is the right thing to do, and then having its staff act accordingly," he wrote.

"Overall, my fear — that there may be a wide gap between the public face NAB seeks to show and what it does in practice — remains."

"I acknowledge the bank has sustained damage as a result of its past practices and comments in the royal commission's final report about them," Thorburn said in a statement to the Australian Securities Exchange.

NAB has also revealed Henry will be barred from participating in the recruitment of  Thorburn's replacement after his initial involvement in the selection process drew sharp criticism.

The royal commission detailed how banks charged fees to dead customers, lied to regulators and delayed making things right with customers who were wronged.