Two of the most senior executive posts at ANZ Banking Group remain vacant, with chief executive Shayne Elliott expecting to appoint a new chief financial officer, and a newly-created group executive for digital banking, in the coming months.
Mr Elliott, who is in his fourth week at the helm of ANZ, admitted on Wednesday that allegations about cultural deficiencies in the bank's global markets division, first reported by The Australian Financial Review, had required his attention in recent weeks. "Would it be nice to have every person named and all [the senior management positions] clear? Of course it would be," he said in an interview. "But I need to trade off perfection with our desire to get on with it."
ANZ said it is looking internally and externally for a new CFO, the position Mr Elliott held from 2012 until his appointment as Mike Smith's successor on January 1. The bank's search is "well advanced and is expected to be finalised in the coming months," it said on Wednesday.
The absence of a new CFO might delay ANZ providing detail about its strategy at its first quarter trading update on February 17, CLSA analyst Brian Johnson said this week.
ANZ said its new group executive of digital banking would be an external appointment.
Mr Elliott suggested that at least one of the two senior positions could be a woman. Only two of his direct reports – the group executive of wealth, marketing and innovation, Joyce Phillips, and chief human resources officer, Susie Babani – are female. In an interview published on ANZ's BlueNotes website, Mr Elliott said he recognised that gender diversity was important. "I need to give some thought around gender diversity, which is obviously critical," he said.
In a statement to the ASX on Wednesday, ANZ said that Gilles Planté, the deputy CEO of institutional and international banking will leave the bank. His departure follows the head of that division, Andrew Geczy, on Friday, which ANZ said was not related to the allegations made by its former traders.
Similarly, Mr Elliott said that Mr Plante's departure had "nothing to do with the cultural issues" that ANZ has been forced to respond to this month, after former traders alleged in court documents that ANZ had tolerated a culture of alcohol, drugs and strip clubs. Mr Plante headed up ANZ's markets division from 2004 to the end of 2008.
"[Mr Plante] has been based in Hong Kong for a number of years and wasn't in the chain of command in markets where some of those issues have been," Mr Elliott said. "It is completely unrelated to that. It is essentially a fallout from the new structure and the new team and making sure we have the best people in the right place."
Mark Whelan, who was appointed group executive, institutional on Wednesday, also worked in ANZ's markets division, including as managing director of markets from 2005 to 2007. Mr Elliott said he was "more than comfortable" with Mr Whelan's past. "Mark is an extremely strong, values-led leader. He has shown that time and time again in various parts of the bank and [in his career] before that. He is the right person in terms of his skill base and capability. He has got a reputation for fixing business and a great reputation for leadership."
Mr Elliott told BlueNotes that ANZ needed to "evolve" its culture, given the community expectations of banking had risen. "So it is not just about saying we are not going to tolerate these thing – and we are not – but it is also about having the right team. And I am confident the team we have got today really takes this seriously. We are going to set new standards. We are going to think about the place differently, and we are going to act in a more responsible manner."