Are the young guns taking over Aussie banks?

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Will 40-year-old Cameron Clyne's appointment as NAB's new chief executive lead to more youngsters heading up Aussie finance firms? (The Australian)

"Age is really irrelevant to the choice of who does what job. It's about ability and skills for the job," says David Miles, COO at JP Morgan.

"Employers want people with fire in the belly, young and hungry and willing to go the extra mile. They've got the energy to put in the much longer hours required in management roles," says Trent Doughty, head of Private Wealth Management at Deutsche Bank.

Catherine Andersen at recruiter Russell Reynolds says the trend in favour of youthful execs is clear in both domestic and global banks, and has been for a few years. "It could be to do with more merit-based promotion. These young CEOs are fantastic thinkers, analytical, strategic and futuristic. And some older executives, who have experienced several downward cycles, don't want to confront another."

Tim Carroll at recruiter Derwent Executive also sees the trend but thinks it is about people achieving competencies earlier. "The new younger generation of CEOs, based on their ability, have already achieved more in their career in a shorter period of time, even before assuming the top job."

At recruiter Talent 2, Brad Miller says the changing of the guard reflects a change in the banks' risk perspective in the tighter financial environment: they are picking people who can approach this from a fresh perspective while considering past financial downturns.

But are the young guns ready for the top jobs? "The risk is in hiring younger people who have not been through the banking cycles before: they can make rash decisions," says Deutsche's Doughty.

But, equally, they are surrounded by people with a fabulous wealth of banking experience and wisdom that they can draw on, says Carroll.