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Daily Dispatches: ANZ looks externally and internally for Thursby replacement

South East Asia

The race to replace ANZ’s Asian spearhead Alex Thursby is on. Thursby, who left ANZ last month to join National Bank of Abu Dhabi as CEO, oversaw rapid growth in ANZ’s Asian operations as chief executive of institutional and international banking.

ANZ chief executive Mike Smith told the Wall Street Journal that he would prefer to hire from within the bank but would consider external candidates too.

“The beauty of having internal candidates is that you don’t have cultural issues and you keep consistency of strategy and business plans. The disadvantage is that you don’t bring in new ideas or other ways of doing things, which can be good,” he said.

Smith added in the WSJ interview: “At a senior level, a lot of [potential candidates] are people you’ve run into or dealt with over the years. The dangerous thing is when you knew somebody 10 years ago and you assume they’ve moved along at the same pace you have. You’ve got to be very careful.”

Whoever takes over from Thursby as ANZ’s Asian architect has an important job on their hands. ANZ reported last week that 20% of its revenue now comes from operations outside Australia and New Zealand, approaching the 25% to 30% target that. Smith set for 2017.

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