Former NSW premier joins NAB as chief customer officer

Mike Baird takes up the newly created role of chief customer officer corporate and institutional banking and is one of three executive-level appointments announced today

Mike Baird
Mike Baird

Former NSW premier and treasurer, Mike Baird, has become the chief customer officer of NAB as part of a suite of new executive-level appointments.

Baird, who started his career with the banking and financial group in 1989, spent 17 years working in corporate and institutional banking roles in Australia with the likes of Deutsche Bank and HSBC, before entering his political career. He was then treasurer of NSW between 2011 and 2014, before assuming the premier’s position following Barry O’Farrell’s abrupt departure. Baird resigned as premier in January, citing family reasons.

He now takes up the post of chief customer officer, corporate and institutional banking, a role created by NAB as part of a restructure of the group last July. The new customer-facing business unit unites corporate and institution business components of NAB’s former Business banking division, with fixed income, currencies and commodities and capital financing from its Products and Markets division.

The role has been held in an acting capacity by EGM of Corporate and Specialised Banking, Cathryn Carver, since being created on 1 August. Carver remains with NAB in a leadership role. Baird takes up the post in mid-April.

“Mike’s time as treasurer and premier of NSW means he returns to banking and NAB with invaluable experience in leading economic and financial reform, to grow the economy,” said NAB CEO, Andrew Thorburn. “Mike has outstanding leadership and a determination to drive change and make a difference by building relationships with customers and the community.”

Alongside the announcement of Baird’s appointment, NAB announced Patrick Wright as its new chief technology and operations officer. He joins from Barclays in the US, where he was global chief operations and technology officer of its Barclaycard business, overseeing a team of 15,000 people.

Thorburn said Wright’s remit is to simplify, digitise and automate business processes and capabilities in order to drive greater efficiencies and create a simple and easier experience for customers and bankers. Acting chief technology and operations officer, Matthew Lawrence, also remains with the banking group.

“Patrick has extensive experience in driving major transformations in large financial services companies and innovating in fast-paced, competitive and highly regulated markets,” Thorburn commented.

The third of NAB’s executive-level appointments is Sharon Cook, who takes up the new role of chief legal and commercial counsel. Cook starts with the banking group in mid-April, while Wright begins his role from mid-May.

Thorburn said the latest appointments rounded out his executive level team and were the result of extensive global searches.

Last month, NAB also brought in a number of heavyhitters to its marketing leadership team in order to improve its customer engagement approach, including former Westpac head of consumer marketing and customer strategy, Karen Ganschow, former GE head of marketing and strategy, Suzana Ristevski, and Analisa Kirby, former general manager of product, marketing and communications at QIC.

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