ANZ ‘firing on all cylinders’, ex-director appointed as chairman

by Amy Rosenfeld19 Dec 2013
ANZ has appointed ex-director David Gonksi to replace chairman John Morschel in 2014, while announcing strong profits in 2013.

CEO Mike Smith acknowledged Morschel’s “outstanding” contribution during his time as chairman at the bank’s annual general meeting yesterday.

“He has been of particular support to me and to all of the senior management team and I want to extend our thanks to [Morschel] on behalf of shareholders and management.”

Gonski is a man of many commitments, already serving as chairman of Coca-Cola Amatil, the Guardians of the Future Fund, the Sydney Theatre Company and Investec Bank. He is also a director of Singapore Telecommunications, Infrastructure NSW and the Lowy Institute for International Policy and is chancellor of the University of NSW.  

He will relinquish some of his current commitments before assuming the Chair in May 2014. Former Liberal federal treasurer Peter Costello announced yesterday he would take Gonski's place as permanent chairman of the $91.7 billion Future Fund in the new year. 

Gonski will stand for election as ANZ director at the AGM in December 2014. He previously served as ANZ director from 2002-2007.

Departing chairman Morschel acknowledged Gonski as “one of Australia’s most respected business leaders”.

“It is particularly pleasing to have someone of his calibre join the Board and to succeed me.

“David’s business experience in Australia and in Asia, and his broad range of involvement with government and with the education and community sectors will be a significant asset for ANZ,” said Morschel.

Gonski said in a statement it was “a privilege” to succeed Morschel as chairman.

“The bank is in a strong position and I am looking forward to working with shareholders, with my fellow directors, and with Mike Smith and his management team to continue to realise ANZ’s super regional strategy,” said Gonski.

These sentiments were reflected at the bank’s AGM yesterday, with CEO Mike Smith announcing profit in the Australian Division was up 11% in the last financial year.

“Overall the 2013 result demonstrated that ANZ is firing on all cylinders,” said Smith.

“We saw the strongest overall growth of all major Australian banks across home lending, deposits and credit cards,” he said.

ANZ’s commercial division also acquired 30,000 new clients and saw above system growth in lending and deposits, said Smith.

“And these results were not just one off – we’ve had above system growth in mortgages for the past 15 consecutive quarters and in commercial lending for the past 7 consecutive quarters.”

ANZ’s focus points for the coming year include improving the customer experience, continuing to diversify revenues and a focus on driving productivity, he said.

“It’s a long-term strategy, and our progress in 2013 and the initiatives we have in place, leave me confident that there’s more gas in the tank.”