ANZ CEO Mike Smith To Step Down In 2016?

Mike Smith, who has been the CEO of ANZ Bank for eight years, could be leaving within the year.

Brought in by former chairman Charles Goode, Smith had the specific brief to build ANZ Bank into Asia. This was both to lock into the region’s higher-growth future and to distinguish ANZ from its three Australian peers.

Until June 2007 Smith was President and Chief Executive Officer, The Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation Limited; Chairman, Hang Seng Bank Limited; Global Head of Commercial Banking for the HSBC Group; and Chairman, HSBC Bank Malaysia Berhad. He has also been the man seen by millions around the world handing out the winner’s trophy at the ANZ sponsored Australian Open Tennis championship.

It was widely reported when he took on the ANZ role that it came with a $9 million sign on fee. He received the signing-on fee, part of that to be taken in ANZ shares, to compensate for the loss of benefits at HSBC. He was originally given an initial three year contract with ANZ at $3 million a year plus the opportunity of making a bonus of the same sum if he met the group's annual profits target.

He has worked hard in making the Melbourne headquartered bank as a player in Asia. Revenue from Asia has consistently grown at double-digit rates with the cumulative annual growth rate over the last five years standing at 19%.

However increasing uncertainty around China and the way that is permeating negatively right through the region including in Australia, the strategy may need to be calibrated.

In the interview with Bloomberg Smith was asked about his previous comments about leaving in 2016. “Well you know within the year. “When I left Hong Kong all those years ago, I thought my tenure would be about five to seven years and I’ve done eight years, so I’ve publicly said that by sometime soon I’ll be hanging up my boots,” he said.

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