Gary Lennon replaces NAB’s finance chief Craig Drummond – Sydney Morning Herald
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Craig Drummond is resigning as finance chief at NAB to enter the “next phase” in his career. Photo: Jim Rice
National Australia Bank has appointed Gary Lennon as its next chief financial officer, after the surprise exit of Craig Drummond, who resigned after two and a half years in the role.
Mr Drummond’s departure came as a surprise, given the close working relationship he established with chief executive Andrew Thorburn during a series of asset sales at NAB and 2015’s $5.5 billion capital raising. Mr Drummond raised his departure with Mr Thorburn earlier this week and tendered his resignation on Thursday evening.
Mr Lennon has been the executive general manager of finance at NAB, reporting to Mr Drummond since 2010. Before joining NAB in 2008, Mr Lennon was at Deutsche Bank, and before that KPMG.
Mr Drummond said he aspired to work in a chief executive role. Asked whether he was considering a move to private health insurer Medibank as its new boss, he declined to comment.
As finance chief Mr Drummond had a massive workload, playing a central role in a flurry of deals as NAB sought to reorientate itself towards its Australian and New Zealand operations. He managed the sale of NAB’s US bank Great Western, as well as a $2.4 billion deal to offload 80 per cent of its life insurance risk to Nippon Life in Japan, a $5.5 billion capital raising in 2015, and, most recently, February’s spin-off of NAB’s poorly performing British business Clydesdale Bank.
Mr Drummond, 55, said on Friday that having done these deals, “the type of work that will be required over the next two years as CFO is not something that fully excites me”.
Aspired to be a CEO
He said he had joined NAB thinking he had a chance to become chief executive and still aspired to become a CEO. He was previously the Australian boss of Bank of America Merrill Lynch and ran Goldman Sachs JBWere.
“I have been in CEO roles before and that is certainly an aspiration but I am not ruling anything in or out. I have one or two things that are in front of me at the moment that I am considering and I will probably look to make a decision over the next two to three months – one is a little more urgent.”
Mr Thorburn said he was incredibly appreciative of what Mr Drummond had done for NAB.
“During Craig’s tenure, NAB has been through a period of significant change, and Craig has been pivotal to this,” he said.
Before his appointment as executive general manager of finance at NAB in 2010, Mr Lennon was chief financial officer of wholesale banking at NAB. He is an executive member of the G100, the peak body for Australian finance executives.
He worked previously at Deutsche Bank, where he was chief financial officer of the corporate and investment bank in the Asia Pacific for more than three years, based in Singapore. He also had a three-year stint as CFO of Deutsche Bank Japan and two years as CFO of Deutsche Bank in Australia and New Zealand.
Senior management roles
Before he joined Deutsche Bank in 1997, Mr Lennon worked at KPMG in senior management roles in the financial services audit division for a decade in Sydney and London. He has an honours degree in economics from the University of Sydney.
His profile on LinkedIn says he is an avid cricket fan and is married with three children.
ANZ Banking Group has been hunting for a chief financial officer for several months and this week said it would make an announcement in the coming weeks.
NAB shares opened down 1.3 per cent to $25.83 and ANZ was down by the same amount, while Commonwealth Bank and Westpac opened about 0.7 per cent lower on Friday morning.
Meanwhile, Westpac told the market on Friday its tier-one capital had increased to 10.2 per cent of assets in the December quarter, a figure that was slightly higher than expected.
However, Citi analysts led by Craig Williams said the Westpac update implied “surprisingly low” profit of $1.9 billion in the quarter, suggesting the bank had work to do to meet market expectations. Unlike the other three big banks, Westpac does not provide quarterly trading updates.
Gary Lennon replaces NAB’s finance chief Craig Drummond – Sydney Morning Herald}